Vaccine Wars: When Science and Politics Collide Reviews

Vaccine Wars: When Science and Politics Collide: ISBN 978-1-6782-0180-7/ eBook: 978-1-6782-0181-4
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2021

An account of the development of select Covid-19 vaccines and their mixed popular reception. Opening with a vague reference to a March 2021 Republican focus group that expressed unease about the vaccines until presented with unspecified corrective facts, Allen goes on to frame the jumble of mixed public messages about the pandemic and the coordinated federal responses dubbed Operation Warp Speed as a narrowly political narrative. Despite continually returning to his theme, or at least inserting the word politics into the narrative frequently, the author skips mention of the Trump administration's initial reluctance to acknowledge the pandemic as a serious problem and its efforts to find a scapegoat while offering a largely positive view of its laggardly support for speeded-up vaccine testing and (justifiable, he claims) promises that a vaccine would be available by late 2020. Overviews of less-than-rosy past experiences with vaccines and public health initiatives such as the search for an AIDS treatment, the 1976 swine flu fiasco, and the infamous Tuskegee experiment hint at some rationale for vaccine skepticism, but along with marshalling assurances that the fast-track testing of Covid-19 vaccines developed by U.S. companies was indeed safe and responsible, Allen closes by dismissing the fears of the doubtful, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. Occasional color photos of protesters and public figures, pull quotes, and side boxes add some context.
A brief overview of one element of an ongoing public health crisis. (source notes, further research, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)