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Lecture 4

Vaccines 1 Lecture Notes (Lecture 4)

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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

Lecture 5 How do vaccines work? - You are given a vaccine that contains a disease germ that is weak or dead E.g.: its ability to reproduce rapidly has been eliminated - Your body‟s immune system then builds anti-bodies - Anti-bodies are proteins that move freely in the body and can recognize pathogens What is MMR? - A vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella What is Autism? A spectrum of developmental abilities: - caused by: brain disorder? Pre-disposition + environmental trigger? - Limited social/communication skills - Prefers predictability and is resistant to change (dislikes loud noises, visitors, etc.) - Empathy does not come naturally if at all - Haphazard and uneven skills development - Tics, obsessive Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? - 1998: Wakefield‟s Lancet paper claims that Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is associated with autism and bowel disease (12 children) - In the paper‟s “interpretation”, the environmental triggers are said to be mostly MMR vaccine (in 8 cases) - In a BBC interview, Wakefield blamed the MMR vaccine - Parents groups rally behind Wakefield - 2003: a review finds no link - 2004: an investigative journalist (Brian Deer) claims Wakefield‟s study was fraudulent and that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest - Wakefield‟s co-authors retract “the interpretation” - 2007-present: Jenny McCarthy supports Wakefield - 2010: the British General Medical Council convicts Wakefield of dishonest, irresponsible and fraudulent conduct. It bars him from practicing medicine in the UK - 2010: The Lancet withdraws Wakefield (1998) - 2011: Deer repeats charges in the British Medical Journal Four ways citizens might engage with science (Leach, p. 269) 1) Dispute scientific claims 2) Borrow science to validate your politics - Acquire scientific authority for a political claim by finding a scientific expert to validate that political claim 3) Reject the scientific way of knowing and advance a new form of knowing - Advance your claims to expertise from some wholly different epistemological standpoint 4) Stake out some ground on the scientist‟s own terrain - Question the uses of science, the control over science, the content of science, or the processes by which science is produced Parental mobilisation around MMR “exemplifies” #4 (p. 270) - ALSO: it is a case of “citizen science” - “lay people are actively producing new knowledge which accords with their own experiences” (p. 270) Leach, “MMR mobilisation: citizens and science in a British vaccine controversy” - In considering the MMR controversy, this paper develops these arguments in several ways” (p. 270) - Focuses on parents‟ claims that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism - “citizen science grounded in parental experience: - FRAMING: … the controversy involves… Section 2 & 3… Different political commitments Parental concern + citizen rights versus public health Individual versus collective risk? Section 4…Differently-framed sciences Clinical versus epidemiological Individual versus population-based Section 4…But the same strategy Using the media, the legal process, and claiming political-economic bias Leach: “I have argued…this is a controversy between differently-framed sciences…grounded in different ways of being and social commitments (p. 297) Some public networks (section 3) - JABS (Justice, Awareness and Basic Support) - Between Gov‟t advice and extreme anti-vaccination - Opposed only to at-risk children receiving MMR - ARCH (Autism Research Campaign for Health) - Concerned about what causes autism - The policy recommendation: single vaccinations, not MMR - Avoid problems with triple vaccine (p. 276) - Allow parental choice - Stems from a claim of Wakekfield‟s - Others: National Autistic Society, Allergy Induced Autism, Action Against Autism - LINKS… - A common identity of parent‟s experience with autistic children (a „politics of injury‟) + alliances with experts - Anti-vaccination movements is separate (p. 275-278) Sustaining public networks? - “MMR talk” - Collins & Evans: part of developing „interactional expertise‟ - But see Leach, p. 278: „talk‟ as a part of common identity - Cyber-Politics - Media - Internet - Social movement blogs and online chat-rooms - Face-to-Face - Collins & Evans: the other part of developing interactional expertise Producing Science (Section 4.1) Symptoms as a novel syndrome linked to MMR vaccination - Wakefield‟s „combination‟ (Autism, bowel disease, MMR) is common The timing of onset of systems is coincidental - Older children get autism too, following MMR vaccination Co-factors - Something making some children more vulnerable? - Family history as a diagnostic tool? E.g.: allergies and several viruses at once? - Mercury in
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