Book Club: On Immunity

Today, dear readers, we’d love to bring to your attention a interesting book that investigates vaccines and also the fears some people have about them.

Part memoir, part historical and cultural study, About Immunity: A Inoculation by Eula Biss documents the author’s decision-making procedure as she considers whether to receive her newborn son vaccinated as suggested. After asking other new moms for information, Biss learns exactly how nervous many of them are about offenses. So, she examines these anxieties –  including the false claim that vaccines cause autism – and asks why a few anxieties persist even when they’re proven untrue.

To understand the anti-vaccine motion, Biss starts by taking a closer look at it. People who dread vaccines, she clarifies, forget about the threat of the diseases they prevent. However, since we can all carry and spread diseases, ” she points out, even our own bodies could be dangerous and scary.

Biss gets creative with metaphors. By assessing a spreading disease to a vampire, she educates readers how strong fear can be. As health communicators, we could not agree more. We all know it can be tough to advocate for a behaviour when damaging messaging encircles it.

To cover the fears surrounding pathogens, Biss offers a charm to public well-being. If our bodies could be harmful, ” she says, they can also be protective. As soon as we get vaccinated, we act as shields, protecting others that can not get vaccinated. And she isn’t merely being philosophical –  she’s talking about herd resistance! (Just don’t call it that in your plain language materials.)

Biss ultimately chooses to get her son the recommended vaccines — and she says that she’s not just doing it for her own family’s safety, but for everyone’s. Now that is the kind of thinking we ❤.

The bottom line: Check out On Immunity for an exploration of how to rethink the fears that surround vaccines.

Tweet about it: The We ❤ #HealthLit Book Club reviews “On Immunity: An Inoculation” by Eula Biss: via @CommunicateHlth

Book Club: On Immunity was originally published in wehearthealthliteracy on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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