Publication Date

April 2016

Advisor(s)

William Johnston

Major

Science in Society

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Vaccination is an integral component of the United States' public health infrastructure and is integral to the control of infectious disease in the general population. Scientific, medical, and public health experts constantly promote vaccines as the most effective life-saving tools of all time. However, there is also conflicting information, often coming from the internet and media, about the potential dangers of vaccines. These sources sensationalize the risks of vaccines, asserting that we should not get vaccinated, or else. So who or where do we turn to for advice on these issues? This thesis is an examination of the source that guides most of the current national immunization policy, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The ACIP is the major source of federal guidance on the use of vaccinations throughout the US. Ultimately, this thesis works to demonstrate the strength of the ACIP’s recommendations based on both our current scientific capacities and the more abstract public expectations of the committee. Additionally, it looks at the limitations of the committee and the issues that it struggles to address.

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