This course will discuss issues regarding vaccines and vaccine safety: the history, science, benefits, and risks of vaccines, together with the controversies and common questions surrounding vaccines, and an update on newly created vaccines and recent outbreaks of previously controlled diseases.
In light of recent outbreaks of infectious diseases and new developments in immunizations, everyone from parents to policy-makers have questions about vaccines. What's actually in a vaccine? Are vaccines effective? Are they safe? Should a society require that all citizens get certain vaccines?
In this course, Dr. Paul Offit will tackle these questions and more. We will explore the history, science, and debate behind vaccines. We'll trace the development of vaccines over the past two and a half centuries, and describe methods for the attenuation of various viruses and bacteria. We'll discuss the benefits of vaccines in the United States and around the world, and we'll also explore the risks, both real and perceived, associated with vaccines. We'll look at how the media shapes the conversation about vaccines and some controversies that surround them, specifically that vaccines cause autism, multiple sclerosis, neurodevelopmental delays, diabetes or other chronic problems. The focus throughout the course will be on research and real-world examples and the discussion will conclude with an update on newly created vaccines and recent outbreaks of previously controlled diseases.