Albany Medical Center
 Search
Home / Caring / Educating / Find a Doctor / News / Give Now / Careers / About / Calendar / Directions / Contact
Topic: Vaccines
March 13, 2014 | Posted By Wayne Shelton, PhD

Efforts to educate the public are based on the assumption that human beings can be persuaded by good reasons and evidence in formulating their responses to important questions about public health. But are things this straightforward? Are humans really this rational in how they make their decisions? 

Think of any social problem that is predicated on how people understand and use information to make good decisions for themselves, especially decisions that have significant social costs. For example, consider the question: does having a gun in one’s home make one more or less safe? A recent piece from the New York Times is typical of the clear evidence presented from social science research to show that guns in the home “were fired far more often in accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicide attempts than in self-defense. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides.” Moreover, there is a strong risk factor of having a gun in the home for female homicides and intimidation of women. These data do not prevent gun rights advocates from passionately arguing against any limitations place on guns including assault rifles. In fact some pro-gun advocates falsely claim that any limitation of assault weapons would in fact make women less safe as though that the typical woman would not have the full ability to protect herself. It appears many people view the evidence through the lens of their preexisting set of assumptions, which makes them ignore the scientific evidence or to see it as biased; thus, they continue to believe that having guns in their homes make them safer.

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.
November 19, 2013 | Posted By Jane Jankowski, LMSW, MS
Overshadowed by the brouhaha about the faulty Obamacare enrollment websites was an article that illustrated a far more egregious oversight in healthcare delivery priorities. A brief piece published in the New York Times noted that drug development priorities have continued to neglect diseases that primarily affect the world’s poorest. Though the supporting article published in The Lancet notes that drug development for such disease has not halted, vaccines and new treatments for conditions including malaria, worm and diarrheal disease, and tuberculosis are not being developed at a rate that reflects appropriate concern given the numbers of people afflicted by these conditions.

With just 4% of new drugs targeting what are considered neglected diseases, it seems reasonable to question the broader goals of those who conduct research and development endeavors. Historically, vaccination has been proven to be remarkably effective at preventing diseases that were once considered scourges, such as smallpox, polio, and diphtheria to give a very short list. The goals were simple – to halt the spread of disease through prevention. Grounded in the principle of beneficence, the research and development was aimed at reducing loss of life, suffering, and serving mankind. While I want to believe that medical research remains intent of the same principles, it is concerning that the world’s poorest are left behind when it comes to the scourges that still affect their regions.

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.

August 8, 2013 | Posted By John Kaplan, PhD

What do Jenny McCarthy and Bill Maher have in common? No, this question is not a joke. It is a serious question, very serious. They are both television talk show hosts and celebrities. This is important. Talk show hosts have the capacity to deliver their message to millions of people. They have a built-in credibility just because their message is broadcast to the masses. Why would they put them on television to tell us stuff if they did not know stuff? Well, perhaps they do not know so much. Perhaps they are just expressing opinions. Perhaps their opinions are wrong, dead wrong. Perhaps in expressing their opinions they are influencing people to make decisions which are dangerous. Perhaps they are influencing people to put their children at risk of serious disease and even death. If they are doing this they are dangerous. Jenny McCarthy and Bill Maher are dangerous. Both have been using their celebrity status to discourage people from getting themselves and their children vaccinated against dangerous diseases.

Jenny McCarthy has been a vocal leader in the anti-vaccine movement created by the false and disproven link between vaccination and autism. This link was predicated on false data published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.

SEARCH BIOETHICS TODAY
SUBSCRIBE TO BIOETHICS TODAY
ABOUT BIOETHICS TODAY
BIOETHICS TODAY is the blog of the Alden March Bioethics Institute, presenting topical and timely commentary on issues, trends, and breaking news in the broad arena of bioethics. BIOETHICS TODAY presents interviews, opinion pieces, and ongoing articles on health care policy, end-of-life decision making, emerging issues in genetics and genomics, procreative liberty and reproductive health, ethics in clinical trials, medicine and the media, distributive justice and health care delivery in developing nations, and the intersection of environmental conservation and bioethics.
TOPICS