Is immunisation child protection?

09 June 2011

Adam Finn & Julian Savulescu

The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9790, Pages 465 - 468, 6 August 2011 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60695-8

View Journal Article / Working Paper

The Lancet's Series entitled 'New decade of vaccines' shows the great opportunities for, and many challenges that face, successful development and implementation of vaccines in the coming decades. The Series emphasises recent advances in biomedical sciences, particularly molecular microbiology, immunology, and genetics. But the biggest hurdle to realisation of this potential could instead relate to failure of parental acceptance of safe and effective vaccination. Savulescu and Finn compare failure to vaccinate with child abuse. They say: “Some parallels can be drawn between immunisation and child protection. The first relates to communication. Child abuse and many vaccine-preventable infections are prevalent but are largely invisible or, at least, not widely known about. Hand in hand with this unawareness, there is a fundamental and widespread lack of understanding of these two areas of child welfare and their complexities.”