Monday, September 22, 2014

PBS Video Tackles Vaccine Fears

Thanks to pockets of vaccine hesitancy in the United States, preventable diseases are making a comeback. In its latest “NOVA” special, “Vaccines — Calling the Shots,” PBS “examines the science behind vaccinations, the return of preventable diseases, and the risks of opting out.”

The special is a crash course on all things vaccine. It outlines the history of vaccination, from its origins in ancient India, to Edward Jenner’s smallpox breakthrough, to today’s continuing efforts to improve immunizations and stay one step ahead of evolving diseases. “NOVA” does not shy away from the current controversy but confronts it head-on, explaining the reasons we should fear opting out of vaccines and not the vaccines themselves.

“As a mother, and as a pediatrician, I think one of the biggest fears that I have and have always had is that one of my children will get sick and I can’t do anything about it, or that one of my patients will get sick and I can’t do anything about it. And to be able to prevent that [through vaccination] is such a gift,” says Amy Middleman, MD, an Oklahoma City adolescent pediatrician.

The program profiles several families whose lives have been affected by the vaccine debate in some way. In a particularly difficult scene to watch, a mother stood helpless as her 7-week-old son fought for air while battling whooping cough. Watch the video and listen to their experiences.

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