As a new book explains, some wrongly fear that vaccination programmes serve only the interests of big pharmaby Manjit Kumar / July 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Immunization: How Vaccines Became Controversial by Stuart Blume (Reaktion, £25)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that immunisation prevents between two and three million deaths a year. In his thought-provoking book, Stuart Blume, a science historian at the University of Amsterdam, carefully explains how exactly vaccines protect the human body, before going on to explore the worrying phenomenon that has come to be dubbed “vaccine hesitancy”—the reluctance of some parents to have their children vaccinated.
In the past public institutions developed vaccines but now private companies do it for profit. The cost of developing and testing a new vaccine is hundreds of millions of dollars. If the pharmaceutical industry is to recoup these costs, then demand for vaccines has to be created. One successful strategy has been to make people more fearful of risks to their health.