In addition to neuroscience, I also love discussing politics and policy. My favorite is when all of those things combine.
Here is a video of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts discussing the science of vaccination and Autism at a hearing recently.
Kudos to the Senator for quickly getting to the point of this debate. We have no evidence to support any major health risks associated with vaccination, and lots and lots of evidence to suggest that they are extraordinarily effective at preventing really nasty diseases.
I especially like the point she makes at the beginning of this clip that part of the problem we’re having with this debate is that the vaccines work so well that nobody even remembers how terrible the diseases they prevent really are.
There are two paths to getting American society back to healthy levels of vaccination. The first path is where scientists, politicians, and citizens do their responsibility and effectively communicate to the public how dangerous not vaccinating children is and how safe the vaccines in question are. The second path is we wait a few decades and let diseases like the measles spread through communities so that people have first-hand experience at how devastating not vaccinating your children can be.
I sincerely hope that we choose the first path. For my part, I will repeat it as often as I can. Vaccines do not cause Autism, and they are very good at preventing really horrible diseases in young children.