Author Interviews, PLoS, Vaccine Studies / 13.06.2018 Interview with: “Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Melissa S Nolan, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology and Biostats Arnold School of Public Health University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 2920 What is the background for this study? Response: As the CDC says, “vaccines are one of the greatest success stories in public health”. In the US, fifteen different vaccines are currently available and recommendations are based on age group and medical indication. Estimates suggest that the US childhood vaccination program has prevented 381 million infections and avoided 855,000 deaths. Despite these astounding public health successes, a movement opposing childhood vaccinations has been growing. Medical contraindications do exist, and these children rely on others to be fully vaccinated to provide herd immunity for children that cannot get vaccinations for medical reasons. In contrast to this important vulnerable clinical population, other reasons for non-vaccination include religious and philosophical beliefs. A major reason for philosophical belief-exemptions is based on the erroneous belief that vaccines cause autism. With philosophical-belief based non-vaccinated populations on the rise, our current study aimed to better understand why some parents seek exemptions for their children. (more…)