28 April 2017 Vol 356, Issue 6336
The vaccine wars
By Meredith Wadman, Jia You
Science28 Apr 2017 : 364-365 Full Access
Debunking myths, owning real risks, and courting doubters.
In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, just 72% of U.S. toddlers had received seven key vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together, these vaccines protect against 11 potentially deadly diseases. Perhaps the subpar number is not surprising: As once-common diseases of childhood fade from public view, it is understandable that parents’ attention would shift from the fear of disease to concerns about risks of the vaccines themselves. The articles in this issue debunk myths old and new about these risks; acknowledge the real, rare vaccine injuries that do occur; and explore what’s known about what works to persuade vaccine-hesitant parents. And the graphic data on this page serve as a powerful reminder of the power of vaccines to vanquish disease.