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To Vaccinate, or Not to Vaccinate

That is the Question



Author:

Caren D. Shapiro
Department of Mathematics & Natural Sciences
D’Youville College
shapiroc@dyc.edu

Abstract:

The case was prompted by a newspaper story about a couple who refused on religious grounds to have their son vaccinated even though vaccination is a requirement for admission to the public schools. It explores the issues surrounding the necessity and consequences of vaccination.  The case is suitable for both non-majors and allied health biology courses.

Objectives:
  • To understand the difference between infection and disease.
  • To understand the consequences of vaccine-preventable microbial diseases.
  • To understand the purposes of different vaccines (e.g., lowering the risk of serious disease versus prevention of infection).
  • To understand that vaccines differ in their efficacy.
  • To understand the side-effects of vaccines.
  • To understand how infections are transmitted as well as risks associated with infection transmission from and to unvaccinated individuals.
  • To gain an understanding of the notion of risk vs. benefit in decision making about being vaccinated (in general and for particular vaccines).
  • To become acquainted with the various sources of information available about vaccine efficacy, side-effects, etc.
Keywords: Vaccine; vaccination; infectious disease; bacterial disease
Topical Area: Ethics, Social issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Medicine (General)   Biology (General)   Microbiology   Public Health  
Date Posted: 08/07/01
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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