When a response to inaccurate information strives to be an informative exercise of its own, it is difficult to balance the desire to respond point by point to mischaracterized, misleading, or untrue information, with the need to simply offer a complete picture of facts. This article is a response to Abigail Wenger’s article regarding
vaccinations. To reply to each mischaracterization or inaccuracy in turn means this response loses its own informative intent and becomes simply a rebuttal. However, to ignore mischaracterizations and inaccuracies is to risk the reader’s acceptance of those points as true. Through illustrative examples in the United States and around the world, the authors will discuss six foundational and important concepts related to vaccination: 1) vaccination laws—history, why they matter, and effects; 2) authority to mandate—federal case law, Pennsylvania law; 3) exemptions— Pennsylvania and other states, recent changes, effect of exemptions on immunization and disease rates; 4) misinformation and its effects; 5) vaccine safety; and 6) informed consent. Within each topic, we will address some specific inaccuracies in Wenger’s piece, where possible and appropriate. Presenting facts supported by credible evidence will provide its own rebuttal of Wenger’s assertions. We note, however, that Wenger has multiple instances where information is mischaracterized, misleading, and sometimes simply untrue. Where appropriate, the authors will recognize and attempt to correct that information.
Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly
Megan M. Riesmeyer and Kristen Feemster, How Can Pennsylvania Protect Itself From Its Own Measles Outbreak?, 91 Pa. B. Ass'n Q. 68 (2020).