Vaccination has greatly diminished death, illness and suffering in the world. But no other medical technology has been so dogged with controversy. The book chronicles the development of the key lifesaving vaccines since the 18th century. It tells the stories of great scientists and their discoveries, of the protests and pain along the stumbling path of progress. This is the first book to tell the whole story of vaccination for a general audience. In light of controversies about flu vaccine and autism, it will be of particular interest to parents, pediatricians, public health workers and anyone fascinated by medical history. Read More>>

Arthur Allen is a Washington DC-based journalist who has written on vaccine issues in The New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, The New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, Salon and Slate.

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December 23, 2006

Vaccination and Politics

It took the world about a decade of concerted effort to eradicate smallpox -- the last "wild" case of the disease was in Somalia in 1978 (someone died of the pox in a British lab accident a few years later). The campaign to eradicate polio began in 1988 and will certainly reach the 20-year mark without finishing. To understand why, it's helpful to read this sad Reuters post from Iraq. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/cde520844242e6fd0dc635d48580390a.htm

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December 20, 2006

HPV - The Ad

Last week, late at night in my Japanese-style 8x6 New York City hotel room, I was zapping through the TV channels when I came upon a most peculiar advertisement. In it, black, white and Hispanic tweens, teens and young women were skipping rope, running in marathons, waiting for subway trains and generally looking proud to be young and female. They were also smiling happily and holding up signs that had the number "1" printed or painted on them. This, it turned out, was an ad for Merck's new Gardasil vaccine, which protects against the human papilloma virus, the microorganism that causes cervical cancer. The theme of the ad was "One Less Life Affected by Cervical Cancer."

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December 10, 2006

Flu Vaccination--why bother?

Not always for the reasons you'd think

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