Elena ConisFeb 2, 2015
America's Changing Relationship with Immunization
University of Chicago Press 2014
The 1960s marked a "new era of vaccination," when Americans eagerly exposed their arms and hind ends for shots that would prevent a range of everyday illnesses--not only prevent the lurking killers, like polio. Medical historian Elena Conis shows that Americans' gradual acceptance of vaccination was far from a medical fait accompli: it was--and remains--a political accomplishment that has stemmed from a patchwork of efforts to expose children, in particular, to compulsory vaccine programs. Grown in the culture of postwar American politics, vaccines deliver more than prophylactics. They succor a set of assumptions about economic inequality, racial difference, sexual norms, and gendered divisions of labor. Vaccine Nation: America's Changing Relationship with Immunization (University of Chicago, 2014) is a timely and accessible social history of American policy and practices towards vaccination that shows how support for vaccination has rarely advanced for medical reasons alone.