The Strange History of Vaccines—And Why People Fear Them
The story of these life-saving shots includes aborted fetuses, snatched cells, and a discredited theory that refuses to die.
Before vaccines, millions of children died horrific deaths each year from infectious diseases like whooping cough, polio, and measles. Today, thanks to vaccines, most of these diseases have been eradicated. Yet people in different corners of the world are rejecting vaccines. In the United States, more and more parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated because they believe a debunked theory that vaccines cause autism. Meanwhile, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, health workers are regularly targeted because vaccines are thought to be a Western plot to make Muslims infertile.
In The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease, Meredith Wadman investigates the ground-breaking science that led to some of the most important vaccines—and