Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Eula Biss

Eula Biss's new book is On Immunity: An Inoculation.

From her Q & A with Nichole L. Reber at Late Night Library:

NR: You dug up some fantastic research on vaccinating newborns against Hep B, stating, “Like human papillomavirus and a number of other viruses, hep B is a carcinogen, and it is most likely to cause cancer in people who contract it when they are young.” This reminded me of certain Republican politicians on the national stage who disagreed with vaccinating young women against HPV. Did your research lead you to a sense of the general public’s stance on the vaccine against HPV?

EB: I don’t think there is one stance on HPV shared by the general public. That’s part of why the HPV discussion is so difficult and confusing. Many parents have already vaccinated their children against HPV, but there is also fairly widespread reluctance to follow the HPV vaccination recommendations. I can think of at least five different mothers I’ve spoken with who have five different reasons for delaying or refusing the vaccine. Some people don’t like the idea of vaccinating children before they are sexually active, though this is when the vaccine is likely to be most effective. Some people don’t think the vaccine is worthwhile, despite evidence that vaccinating every 12 year-old girl in the United States could prevent about 1,300 deaths every year. Some people are afraid of the potential side effects of the vaccine, and these fears are stoked by unsubstantiated or exaggerated reports of side effects – one of my neighbors, for instance, was reluctant to vaccinate her son because another neighbor of ours had told her that she had heard that it made girls in Australia infertile. That concern was new to me, so I looked into it and found that the origin of that fear was a single individual – a girl with unexplained infertility whose doctor had forwarded her case for further study. For some people, (and this might include the Republicans you mention, as well as some of the Democrats I know), the actual efficacy or side effects of the vaccine are irrelevant because the vaccine has become emblematic of the encroachment of the state on the rights of the individual and refusing the vaccine is a way to...[read on]
Visit Eula Biss' website.

Writers Read: Eula Biss (June 2010).

--Marshal Zeringue