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Book and Media Reviews
June 27, 2007

State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Fishbein Fellow.

JAMA. 2007;297(24):2767-2772. doi:10.1001/jama.297.24.2769

Control of communicable disease through vaccination marked a major triumph for modern medicine in the 20th century, but this achievement was only realized through the active efforts of governmental agencies, scientific discovery, and the cooperation of the public at large. In State of Immunity, James Colgrove explores the relationship between the power of the state to ensure common welfare through vaccination and an individual's right to refuse intervention. The author demonstrates that as the public's perception of the role of government and science over the last century has changed, so too have the tactics used to achieve effective vaccination coverage.

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