In 1998 a medical furore broke out when The Lancet published an article by Andrew Wakefield questioning the benefits of the MMR vaccination which was being given unquestioningly to children throughout the UK. Coming 202 years after the first vaccination by Edward Jenner, which led to the eradication of smallpox throughout the world, this recent incident is only the latest in a long history of questioning the benefits of vaccination. From early irrational fears born of outdated medical understanding through to the latest medical research and findings, Professor Williams traces the history of the anti-vaccination movement and its long tail, reviewing the social settings in which the fears were found and offering a balanced assessment of vaccination as we find it today.
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Gresham College professors and guest speakers have been giving free public lectures in central London since 1597. This tradition continues today and you can attend any of our lectures, or watch or listen to them on our website.