shot upside the arm

<img src=”” alt=”Parent This has to have been one of the more timely [for me] reviews I’ve had the pleasure of doing. The Parent Bloggers Network offered me the chance to read Vaccinated and I rather jumped.

Let me begin by saying up front that I have a science background and work in health care. I had a passing curiosity about all this to-vaccinate-or-not-to-vaccinate hoopla, but no real qualms about giving the Magpie all her shots. My only questions came up when she had a little cough at her one year appointment, and we went ahead with everything anyway. So having said that, onto the book.

Vaccinated is, really, a history of vaccines. The fact that they were nearly all touched – if not outright made – by one man is amazing. The fact that they were created, at the time, in laboratory conditions I can’t fathom, and tested before regulations made products safer and red tape made the process a little slower is simply mind boggling. While the book primarily focuses around Maurice Hilleman’s amazing lifelong work with viruses, bacteria and vaccines, there are many other players mentioned in a story that spans much of the last century. Among the tales of discoveries, advances, setbacks and accomplishments, there are reminders of the suffering and the deaths that have been alleviated from the advent and use of vaccinations, and the suffering and deaths that still go on today because not everyone has access to these literal ounces of prevention.

Vaccinated does go on, in the final chapters, to discuss recent concerns with respect to vaccinations and does a very good job [in my humble opinion] of refuting the charges linking vaccines to autism.

I liked:

  • the author has a clear, concise way with words that is easy to read, yet never over simplified. There is a lot to be known and he makes sure you learn something.
  • it’s all here. There are some perceivably ugly bits to this story, and they are not shied away from, but are stated and humanized without sensationalizing.

I disliked:

  • I found that dates and eras appeared erratically throughout the book. Now, really, this was not detrimental to the flow of the story but, by the end, I was wishing for a time line – even as an appendix – so that I could put everything I’d just read into context a little more easily.

The verdict:

  • Vaccinated is right up my alley. I was, as most are apparently, one of those people who had no idea who Maurice Hilleman was before reading this book. I am now in awe of this man whose work has saved so many lives, those doctors and researchers who were involved in the field and even those I now work with every day. And I have no doubt that I will continue on with the Magpie’s vaccination schedule. I’ll be checking my own to make sure I’m current as well. Were it not already on my shelf, this book would definitely be on my wishlists.

2 responses to “shot upside the arm

  1. Might be an interesting read even though I haven’t got children.

    I don’t vaccinate my cats but every 3 years. They don’t “travel” so the only contact they have with the outside world is the dog who is vaccinated every year. Too many scary stories out there.

  2. yeah, I waffle every year with our cat. There is one vaccine (FLV??) that I believe is associated with a type of cancer and I’ve always wondered about that…

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