Thanks to high-profile measles outbreaks, such as the Disneyland outbreak in early 2015 and the 2017 outbreak in Minnesota, and their political responses (including the California legislature's decision to no longer allow personal belief exemptions to vaccines), childhood vaccines have been back on the recent political and policy agenda. There were even reports early in the Trump administration that the White House would create a vaccine safety commission, headed by vaccine critic Robert Kennedy Jr. (such a commission has not been created). Given these notable events, one might be tempted to view the injection of politics into US childhood immunization regimens as a recent phenomenon. However, two recently published books offer meticulous and engrossing evidence to the contrary: vaccines have been political for as long as there have been vaccines. The history of vaccine regulation and of the scientific development of vaccines has revolved around negotiations of power and debates...
Vaccine Court: The Law and Politics of Injury
The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease
Sarah E. Gollust is associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota. She studies the intersections of communication, politics, and health politics. Her research has examined the roles of news media and public opinion within significant health policy issues, including obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act, and cancer screening. Her work has recently been funded by the American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is the associate director of the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program to support leaders engaged in research to advance health equity.
Sarah E. Gollust; Vaccine Court: The Law and Politics of Injury
The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 December 2018; 43 (6): 1047–1053. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-7104526
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