In a new book titled “Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity” the author Michael Kinch explains in 334 pages how vaccinations saved millions proving to be one of the greatest achievements of scientific medicine, but lately a nod given by president Donald Trump to the anti-vaccination movement is deeply disturbing as even a small number of children not vaccinated voluntarily by their parents due to allege risk from it risks contracting the disease to enormous numbers of children.
Century ago about fifty percent of the children died at very young age due to infections. Beginning 1518 about 30 percent of the population in Cuba and its nearby islands was killed due to smallpox while in 1529 the two-thirds survivors lost their lives by measles.
Michael Kinch recounts in the book history of vaccination, discovery of which was done by Edward Jenner. In the later part of 19th century researchers found the smallpox infections were caused by microorganisms instead of foul vapors called masma, as believed in those days.
About the anti-vaccination movement he writes it is as old as the vaccines themselves and has lethal consequences. It was believed the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine led to autism. In the 1970s people doubted over the safety of DTP vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
Lately diseases like measles have appeared again and mainly in the countries where those were completely eradicated. In Europe 41,000 measles cases were found and 37 out of those were fatal, reveals a latest WHO report. Various infectious threats are on card for near future due to global warming and increase in global travel. Few of those to name are Ebola, Lassa and Zika. A widespread public understanding is required to know how important is vaccinations. Kinch suggests the government should also play important role in incentivizing pharmaceutical companies to carry out vaccine research.
Priced at $27.95 the Pagasus Books offers narrative with historical anecdotes but with often marginal relevance. It is feared those people who doubt value of vaccination safety would fail to read it though it is important for them to read. The consequences would lead to paying heavy price for not reading.