From Jenner to Wakefield: The Anti-Vaccination Movement

From Jenner to Wakefield: The Anti-Vaccination Movement from Gresham College on FORA.tv

Thanks to Milton.

In 1998 a medical furor broke out when The Lancet published an article by Andrew Wakefield questioning the benefits of the MMR vaccination which was being given unquestioningly to children throughout the UK.

In 1998 a medical furor broke out when The Lancet published an article by Andrew Wakefield questioning the benefits of the MMR vaccination which was being given unquestioningly to children throughout the UK.

Coming 202 years after the first vaccination by Edward Jenner, which led to the eradication of smallpox throughout the world, this recent incident is only the latest in a long history of questioning the benefits of vaccination.

From early irrational fears born of outdated medical understanding through to the latest medical research and findings, Professor Williams traces the history of the anti-vaccination movement and its long tail, reviewing the social settings in which the fears were found and offering a balanced assessment of vaccination as we find it today.

For transcript and download versions of this lecture, please visit the event’s page on the Gresham College website: From Jenner to Wakefield: The long shadow of the anti-vaccination movement.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • den1s

    I have lots of friends who continue to be anti-vaxxers to some extent. Even when you point out and they agree that Wakefield’s study is crap, they continue to say that Wakefield’s conclusions are not the only problem with vaccines. So you try to explain that ALL of the problems that people cite have ALL been debunked…. to no avail. So hard to convince somebody that they have been fed nonsense…. to the point that you could lose them as friends over it.

    Reminds me, time to get my yearly flu shot :)


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