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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Sep 23, 2020

Vaccines are a documented success story, one of the most successful public health interventions in history. Yet there is a vocal anti-vaccination movement. How can we better understand the history and concerns behind that movement?

Science professor Jonathan Berman joined us via livestream with revelations from his book Anti-Vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement. He explained how the origins of today’s anti-vaccine movement stretch all the way back to the resistance to Britain’s Vaccination Act of 1853, and explored how the arguments made back then mirror those made today. He provided background information on vaccines and how they work, and discusses the development of new vaccines in the twentieth century and their resulting controversies. In a moment where vaccine conversations are especially heightened and fraught, listen in as Berman explores the phenomenon of the anti-vaccine movement—and suggests a strategy for countering them.

Jonathan Berman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences at NYITCOM-Arkansas. His writing has been featured on New ScientistHarvard Business Review, TEDxSanAntonio, and others. An active science communicator, he served as national cochair of the 2017 March for Science, host of the unveiling of the world’s largest periodic table of the elements, and science fair judge. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathanberman.

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