Taking Shots: The Science and Ethics of Vaccinations was a recent dinner colloquium led by Manresa Professors Rachel Annunziato (Psychology) and Steven Franks (Biological Sciences) that explored the intersection of science and psychology. The engaging discussion covered several topics regarding vaccinations. We discussed why we receive vaccinations and why some people choose not to vaccinate.
Professors Annunziato and Franks taught us that we receive vaccinations to help us build immunity to infectious diseases. We discussed the widely popular, yet false notion that there is a connection between vaccines and autism, and how this led to many people choosing not to vaccinate their young children. This theory was later proved fraudulent and even the creator of the idea, Dr. Wakefield, stated it was false.
We discussed why some people choose not to receive vaccines, whether it be for religious purposes or because some just do not believe in the health effects of vaccines. We talked about some reasons why people choose not to receive the common flu vaccine, questioning whether it was worth it. The discussion led to how this impacts the community because people who choose not to vaccinate pose a health risk to those around them; they allow or perpetuate the spread of infectious diseases.
Overall, the colloquium was very informative and challenged students’ beliefs and ideas about the science and ethics of vaccinations.
Molly Brodowski, FCRH 2020