If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all you’ve probably heard about the anti-vaccine movement and its risk to public health. Fears of autism or toxins contained within the vaccines have caused many parents to refuse to vaccinate their children, which has then lead to outbreaks of diseases that have previously been eliminated in the U.S. such as the measles outbreak at Disney Land. Part of this rash of anti-vaccination sentiment is a fear of the vaccines themselves, but part of it also involves a fundamental distrust of the federal government government.
Interestingly, it is the state governments that have the primary responsibility in the United States for protecting public health, and mandatory vaccinations laws are state laws. The federal government’s role in vaccinations has been largely limited to providing funds to assist the states in executing their vaccination programs. For an overview of mandatory vaccination laws see the Congressional Research Service report, Mandatory Vaccinations: precedent and current laws (available through the efforts of the University of North Texas). Sources of information on the topic at the University Libraries include:
Oliver, T. R. (ed.) (2014). Guide to U.S. health and health care policy. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press. Dewey Library Reference/RA 395 A3 G85 2014: This book provides a good and easily understandable overview of the public policy issues surrounding vaccinations and vaccine preventable diseases, as well as many other topics in the health care field.
Newton, D. E. (2013). Vaccination controversies: A reference handbook. Santa Barbra, CA: ABC-CLIO. Science Library / RA 638 N495 2013
Kitta, Andrea (2012). Vaccinations and public concern in history : legend, rumor, and risk perception. New York: Routledge. Science Library /RA 638 K58 2012
Mnookin, Seth (2011). The Panic Virus : a true story of medicine, science, and fear. New York: Simon & Schuster. Science Library /RA 638 M675 2011
Link, Kurt (2006). The vaccine controversy : the history, use, and safety of vaccinations. Westport, CT.: Praeger. Dewey Library /RA 638 L565 2005
MEDLINE with Full Text (via Ebsco) MEDLINE with Full Text provides authoritative medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences, and much more.
Both the vaccination controversy and the U.S. public health system are complicated and hard to navigate, but the Dewey Library can give you two tips to dealing with them. If you need help searching, visit or contact the reference desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 442-3691.
Blog post created by Alex Hoag & Dick Irving
Image Source: microbiologyonline.org