Pam Camel's Reviews > The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear

The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin
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's review
May 02, 2012

it was amazing

Seth Mnookin does a great job with this book. With all the myths surrounding vaccines he not only says they are in fact myths but has the supporting evidence to support his position. This was a good history of vaccines. Where they came from? What the purpose was? Even some on how they are made?
The author also looks at the anti-vaccine groups. Who they are? Why they started? What is their state in the field. Many anti-vaccine groups claim that vaccines are a government cover up. That they are all about the money. This idea is not a new one. There is always someone saying the government is out to get you. Mr. Mnookin shows examples in history where the public did shy away from vaccines because they believed they were not needed or were harmful with no real evidence on their side. The reasons have changed but the nay Sayers will always exists.
Never does the author say vaccine injuries do not exist. He looks at the vaccine courts and how they came about. As with any medication or medical procedure there are risks, each person needs to weigh the risks and benefits. To do this you need to know both sides on the story.
Mr. Mnookin also shares some heartbreaking stories of children who were harmed and even died because they contracted diseases that could have been prevented.
The autism vaccine connection came in the 1990's when Wakefield entered the picture. His study and article in The Lancent had people believing the connection. Even today he still has his followers that even after having the paper retracted and losing his medical license people will still say its a conspiracy to take him down from exposing the truth.
This book also touches on Geier, Autism speaks, and Jenny McCarty some of the more conversational players in the area of autism. There is a war of words brewing in the autism community over vaccines. Many of the points used to prove harm are false or misconstrued to prove the persons point. As with any war there will be causalities. For some families the fear from anti-vaccine information has caused them to skip vaccines and then lose their child when they contracted a diseases that was thought to be eradicated.
Anyone who wants to know some history or is looking at the choice to vaccinate or not should read this book. It is a straight forward no drama or fear mongering approach to the pro-vaccine idea.
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