Annual Faculty Lecture Series Opens with Talk About Impact of Childhood Vaccines on Individuals, Public

Ed Keith

The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences will begin its annual Faculty Lecture Series for the fall 2011 semester with a talk titled “Childhood Vaccines—Public Health Benefit Versus Individual Health Threat.” Presented by Edward O. Keith, Ph.D., associate professor in the college, the lecture will take place on Thursday, Sept. 15, from noon to 1:00 p.m., in the Alvin Sherman Library, Second Floor Gallery.

Ever since the introduction of the first vaccines more than 150 years ago, there has been opposition to vaccines, in spite of convincing evidence of benefit. The tradeoff between the public health benefits of vaccines, which accrue to large numbers of people, versus the possible negative consequences of vaccines in small numbers of individuals has been exemplified recently by the claims by some that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines given to large numbers of children cause autism.

Despite a decade of serious scientific investigation of this claim that has yielded no supportive evidence, the anecdotal accounts of numerous parents stand in contradistinction to the claim that this vaccine is safe. Keith’s presentation will explore both the science and the ethics behind this controversy and suggest ways that the two sides can be reconciled.

The Faculty Lecture Series draws from the knowledge and expertise of more than 120 full-time faculty members within the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. The series explores the faculty’s diverse areas of interest in the arts, humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and biological sciences. These talks are free and open to the public. For more information on the Faculty Lecture Series, contact Jim Doan, Ph.D., at (954) 262-8207.

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