fun with writing about the hpv vaccine!

by marjorieingall on July 6, 2013

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The anti-vaccine crew got hold of my Tablet magazine piece about the HPV vaccine, and the comments section is going nutso.

Vaccination is always a third-rail topic. But I really was conscious about being fair in reporting this piece. I acknowledged my own anxieties and doubts, interviewed only experts who took the anti-vax folks concerns seriously and found answers to each concern raised. No matter. When people are sure that anecdotal data is better than data from big studies, or can’t accept that there’s a difference between correlation and causation, they can’t be convinced to see another side…no matter the quality of evidence marshaled. Still, as the daughter of a man whose body was ravaged by polio, and as a writer for Jewish publications who’s watched measles get more and more common in Orthodox enclaves, I’m a little sad. In my head, I actually thought a piece that took seriously the concerns of anti-vaccine folks (who include my friends!) might change some minds. Which is, of course, profoundly arrogant. If public health experts can’t figure out how to reassure people that a vaccine could save their child’s life, why would I think I could. Chutzpahdik!

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