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Tennessee Medicine E-Journal

Abstract

Throughout the 20th century, the medical community developed new vaccines against some of the most virulent diseases and instituted a universal vaccination protocol. Together, these brought about the eradication of smallpox, an end to common childhood polio in western countries, and the transition of other infectious diseases from being main causes of morbidity and mortality to medical zebras. However, since the late 1990s the medical community has seen a rise in the number of parents who take exception to the vaccination of their children despite overwhelming evidence showing that vaccines are both safe and efficacious. In this article, a medical student and a physician assistant student reflect on their experiences lying at the interface of medicine, professionalism and communication with parents and patients who have opted out of vaccination.

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