Sunday, March 28, 2021

The best books to understand vaccines and why some refuse them

Eula Biss is the author of four books, most recently Having and Being Had. Her book On Immunity was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review, and Notes from No Man’s Land won the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism in 2009.

At the Guardian, Biss tagged "the best books to understand vaccines– and why some refuse them." One title on the list:
The smallpox vaccine was more dangerous than any of today’s vaccines, but it is no longer in use because it eradicated the disease. In theory, other infectious diseases could be eradicated as well, though vaccine refusal has recently led to outbreaks around the world. In the US, one of the demographic groups most likely to refuse to vaccinate their children is well-educated white women. The reasons for this are various, and not entirely flattering, but they include factors that are, as ever, political.

Reasons for this can be found in For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, which explores the fraught history of women’s health and illuminates why some women might be reluctant to accept expert advice on vaccination.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue