What the measles epidemic really says about America
The University of Colorado Denver’s Jennifer Reich notes that starting in the 1970s, alternative-health movements “repositioned expertise as residing within the individual.”
In an interview, Reich mentioned that some anti-vaccine activists describe themselves as “researchers,” thus equating their scouring of the internet on behalf of their families with the work of scientists who publish in peer-reviewed journals.
By vaccinating their own children, and thus ensuring that they don’t spread the disease, parents contribute to the “herd immunity” that protects the vulnerable. And this mentality is growing rarer in an era of what Reich calls “individualist parenting."
As Reich details, today’s skepticism of vaccines has its roots in the alternative-medicine and self-help movements of the 1970s, which encouraged people to question established medical authority.
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