Particular issues of public health: vaccination

Pywell, Stephanie (2001). Particular issues of public health: vaccination. In: Martin, Robyn and Johnson, Linda eds. Law and the Public Dimension of Health. London: Cavendish Publishing, pp. 299–327.

Abstract

Public health measures vary greatly in their impact upon individuals. Some measures such as sanitation and water filtration are imposed upon whole populations without adverse effect. Medical interventions such as breast cancer screening are transiently uncomfortable but not invasive. Cervical smear tests are invasive but have no known lasting effects. Other public health measures such as water fluoridation may affect individual recipients, and the dilemma for those responsible for determination of public policy is the extent to which public health benefits justify individual risks. Vaccination is invasive, and involves the administration of pharmaceuticals to people who are well. The benefits of vaccines are prospective and to some extent speculative, and there is concern that they may occasionally have serious permanent adverse effects upon those who receive them.

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