On Immunity: An Inoculation

It’s hard to ignore the raging debate between the pro- and anti-vaccinators.  I, my self, tend to side with the pro argument, but I do believe there shouldn’t be a blind faith in vaccinations.  For anyone considering vaccinating his/her child or who is interested in the topic, Eula Bliss is right there with you.  This book is Ms. Bliss’s journey finding out what she believed and why she believed it.

ImmunityNot only does Ms. Bliss share her struggles as a parent to decide whether to vaccinate or not, but in an intelligent, academic way she analyzes the arguments and complex facets of immunology.There’s moments where it seems she’s about to declare herself for one side or the other, but adroitly avoids that decision and leaves the responsibility of deciding to the readers.  Instead, she’s more interested in presenting the arguments and issues behind certain decisions. At some points it seems that she’s not framing the argument to side one way or the other, but then there’s moments where she reveals the complexities of immunity and you realize there is no perfect solution.  There’s a gamble either.

Instead of explicitly telling the reader what to do or not, she simply lays out all of the evidence and conclusions she’s arrived at and let’s us put the pieces together.  There’s a lot of background issues I had never considered when thinking about vaccinating, but Ms. Bliss weaves them together so well they don’t take away from the overarching narrative.  While addressing some very technical elements such as how exactly the immune system works, I appreciated that Ms. Bliss was very open about the questions she had, because most of the time I had the same ones.  I also felt that she was able to explain a lot of the complexities of this topic as if we were sitting down to discuss this over a cup of coffee.  I never felt she was speaking down to me, rather I felt that she was right there with me as a peer.

I would recommend this regardless of whether you have children or not.  It’s a really good work to read if you’re in a book club, because there’s a lot of discussion that can come out of this.