Addressing public resistance to vaccination

Vaccines are generally regarded as among the most effective public health interventions of marcuse_2all time. New knowledge of immunology and new technologies have made possible the development of many new vaccines that protect against diseases that were common only a generation ago.

Why is it then that, paradoxically, public confidence in safety and effectiveness of vaccines has declined in recent decades?

Dr. Edgar Marcuse, MD, and Emeritus Professor, Pediatrics, University of Washington, will address this question in a public talk titled “Let’s talk vaccines: Was there ever an Age of Reason?” on Thursday, Apr. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.

The crux of the issue is that “our understanding of the science of vaccine development far exceeds our understanding of individual decision making and how best to influence it,” claims Dr. Marcuse.

In this talk, Marcuse will review the history, origins, scope and impact of vaccine hesitancy, highlight some common concerns and explore the relative role of science, culture and emotion in parents’ vaccine decision making.  He will make the case that timely and complete immunization should be the normal behavior for individuals from diverse backgrounds and life styles. He will suggest that values play a central role in both individual decision making and policy development and will argue for a public discussion of values.

Dr. Marcuse is an academic general pediatrician with special interest in immunization: policy, practice, ethics, economics and vaccinology.  Dr. Marcuse has served as a member and Chair of the US Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases (Red Book), Associate Editor of the Red Book, and most recently on the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. He has authored over 100 publications relating to immunization, general pediatrics and public health.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

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