While researchers widely agree that immunization is crucial for children and American public health, 40 percent of American parents have either delayed or refused a vaccine for at least one of their kids.
Mark Largent, a professor at Michigan State University and the author of Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America, suggests that many parents feel helpless and at the mercy of a dysfunctional health-care system. It’s not doctors they distrust. It’s big pharma or the federal government. For example, he points out that on average, kids may get up to 25 inoculations in their first 18 months.
Doctors and researchers have the knowledge and, as a consequence, immense control over what happens to people’s kids. “Faced with this imbalance of power and information,” writes Emma Green, “who can blame parents for being nervous and striking out on the Internet for a second opinion?”