Public trust in science is a fickle creature. Surveys show a clear majority of Americans believe science has positively impacted society, and they’re more likely to trust scientists on issues like climate change and vaccines. On the other hand, surveys also find that factors like politics, religion, age and race can greatly impact the degree of that trust. It presents a delicate challenge for agencies that depend on trust in science to do their jobs.
Protecting babies and children against dangerous — sometimes fatal — diseases is a core mission of public health. Everyday, in health departments across the nation, someone is working on maintaining and improving childhood vaccination rates and keeping diseases like measles and mumps from regaining a foothold in the U.S.
The anti-vaxxers were out again this week, spreading misinformation and debunked science about an intervention that’s saved millions of lives and prevented immeasurable human suffering. It’s unconscionable.
Because taking health insurance away from millions of Americans isn’t bad enough, President-elect Trump has reportedly asked an outspoken critic of vaccines — a man who supported the thoroughly debunked notion that vaccines are linked to autism — to lead a commission on vaccine safety.
Vaccine safety is one of those topics that has become so tragically mired in misinformation and myth that there can never be enough supporting evidence. So, here’s some more.