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How Can We Better Understand Contemporary Vaccine Skepticism?

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Courtesy Cornell University Press

The controversial debate about the need for and efficacy of vaccinations has resulted in an impasse for people on both sides of the argument. At the core of the discussion is concern for the well being of children. 

Vaccines are scientifically proven to be necessary to strengthen herd immunity but skeptics question the validity of and motivations behind this conclusion. 

What are the chief concerns espoused by so-called "anti-vaxxers"? How do issues of individual bodily autonomy, government responsibility and transparency when it comes to citizen health, and a general distrust of modern medicine factor into the debate?

Is there a middle ground for parents and medical professionals? What are the potential public health outcomes of a societal deadlock on vaccines? How can we reframe the discussion to better understand the root causes of vaccine skepticism? 

Guest: Bernice Hausman, chair of the Department of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine and author of "Anti/Vax: Reframing the Vaccination Controversy"

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, December 2.

Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.