Friday, June 5, 2009

Roald Dahl on Vaccines

When I was younger, my favorite book was James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (also author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda). Turns out that book was dedicated to his daughter Olivia, who tragically died of measles. In this article, Dahl stresses the importance of vaccinations.

Dahl writes "...there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it. It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk.... It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised."


  1. This is the kind of story that can give the pro-science side a way to appeal to the public in exactly the same way McCarthy's story 'resonates'.

    I would also be curious about stories involving deaths of children too young to immunize yet that were the direct result of exposure to children whose parents chose not to immunize.

    Stories like that might also resonate as strongly as McCarthy's.

  2. I agree. I think the Vaccine Controversy is primarily one of emotions rather than facts.