Vaccines, which save millions of lives every year, are one of the most successful public-health interventions in the history of modern medicine. Among the diseases that they prevent is the whooping cough. Why, then, is that sickness making a scary comeback in California, which is currently weathering its largest whooping-cough epidemic since 1947, with over 7,800 cases and 10 deaths in 2010? Mainly because more and more parents, worried about the vaccine’s supposed side effects, are choosing to delay vaccinating their children—or not to do it at all. This public-health calamity, moreover, comes at a time when the Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit against whooping-cough vaccine manufacturer Wyeth; if successful, the suit would make epidemics much more likely and undermine public confidence in vaccines even further.
Read on at City Journal.