The following is an excerpt from Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History. It begins with a word from a Dr. Jayne L. M. Donegan, who transitioned from vaccine advocate to vaccine skeptic:
Vaccination is regarded as the most important health advance in the 20th century by most health professionals and laypeople. Although the dramatic decreases in morbidity and mortality from diseases that occurred in the course of the 20th century have been credited to the introduction of specific vaccines, scant acknowledgment has been given to improving social conditions. …
It was a received “article of faith” for me and my contemporaries, that vaccination was the single most useful health intervention that had ever been introduced. Along with all my medical and nursing colleagues, I was taught that vaccines were the reason children and adults stopped dying from diseases for which there are vaccines.
We were told that other diseases, such as scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, typhus, typhoid, cholera, and so on, for which there are no vaccines at the time, diminished both in incidence and mortality (ability to kill) due to better social conditions.
You would think—as medical students who are supposed to be moderately intelligent—that some of us would have asked, “But if deaths from these diseases decreased due to improved social conditions, mightn’t the ones for which there are vaccines also have decreased at the same time, for the same reason?” But we didn’t. …
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