In a 24-hour news cycle, fact and fiction are regularly muddled. Analysis and interviews are riddled with hyperbole, and just about everyone has an agenda. This is to say nothing of the blogosphere and Twitterverse. Certainly this is the case with the recent measles outbreak and the ongoing vaccination discussion.
Often, the best antidote is to take a step back, carefully gather information and investigate for yourself. Check out the resources below for more information on this topic.
Your Baby's Best Shot offers a straightforward guide for parents about the science behind vaccination, vaccine ingredients, how vaccines work and herd immunity. Further, the authors discuss the controversies around vaccines.
Written by Paul A. Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Vaccines and your Child provides scientific information in question and answer format. The author addresses the basics, such as the composition and creation of vaccines, safety and effectiveness, as well as concerns about reemerging diseases due to decreased vaccination rates.
For a history of vaccination, turn to On Immunity: An Inoculation. Eula Biss gives an engaging account of the mythology and history of immunity and vaccines. Sources range from scientific studies to Bram Stoker's Dracula. (This is also available as an eBook and Audiobook CD.) Another work offering a history steeped in scientific evidence as well as anecdotes is Deadly Choices.
Finally, there is PBS Frontline’s The Vaccine War. This documentary presents the science of vaccines and the resistance to inoculation. The Vaccine War is also available for streaming on the PBS Frontline website.