Saturday, May 17, 2014

All About the Book "All About Vaccines"!

As the title suggests, I've written a new book titled "All about Vaccines"!  After months of editing, I'm very proud of the final product and extremely excited to finally have it published.  I anticipate a few questions about the book, so I wanted to take the opportunity to try to answer some of the ones I thought might arise here.


  What is it about?

As the title suggests, the book is all about vaccines.  It's a parent-child reader aimed at kiddos getting ready for their booster shots.  It explains in simple language what vaccines are, how they work, and why they're important.  It also provides a lot of good, detailed information for parents, too.   

Why did I write this book?

Well, I have a lot of reasons. Here are some of the most important ones:

1. Children are far more perceptive than we give them credit for being.  I think it's so important to explain to kids (and adults, for that matter) what's going on when they're at the doctor's office. Whenever needles are involved, things can seem scary.  But if we take the time to explain to kids what vaccines are and why they're important, it can take some of the fear out of the experience and help them understand that vaccines are there to protect them, not hurt or scare them.  Unfortunately, medical professionals don't always have the time to explain things fully to children and their parents.  The goal of this book is to assist medical professionals in that right, and also to empower children and their parents with good information about vaccines, their importance, and how to get more information from legitimate sources.  

2. Education is key.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of incorrect information out there regarding vaccines.  For me, it was important to do my part in disseminating correct, peer-reviewed, science-based information in a constructive, open way.  That being said, 

3. How a message is presented is important, too. Seven months ago, I wrote this blog post. While I stand by what I said, I also am aware that I very likely didn't change any minds on the topic. Well-researched? Definitely.  Full of f-bombs and invective language? Certainly.  Admittedly, it wasn't the most mature approach, but was it cathartic?  Absolutely.  However, hurling facts with angry language rarely makes anyone want to listen, no matter how important the facts are.  While I'm still furious at the modern-day snake oil merchants and fear mongers (who still deserve every nasty name in the book for preying on uninformed parents) I've come to realize that there are people who simply don't understand how to vet out good information from bad information (which, while disappointing, is an unfortunate reality that needs to be addressed). If the goal is to educate the masses and open the minds of the anti-vaccine crowd, the message needs to be presented in a calm, friendly manner.  A children's book is a great venue through which to do this and in that sense, this book is just as much for parents as it is for children.  

4. Science is amazing.  I think there's an unfortunate, mislead, anti-science trend going on throughout society, and I'd like to do my part in counteracting it.  The best way to counter ignorance is education, and if I could give anything to the world, it would be a love of science and the knowledge needed to get good information from legitimate sources.  It's my dream that this book can be one small step in that direction.    

What are some other important things I'd like you to know about this book?

Although its not a focus of the book and I really don't want to make it a focal point, I feel it needs to be said that my heart absolutely goes out to those who are in search of an answer to the many big questions surrounding autism.  I would love to know the answers to those questions, too.  Unfortunately, there is a small group among those looking for an answer who have latched onto the false idea that there is some connection between vaccines and autism. Time spent accusing vaccines of causing autism (even though it has been proven time and again that vaccines don't cause autism) is time wasted that could and should be spent seeking the real answers. Trying to drag vaccines through the mud is irresponsible and detracts energy from discovering real, scientific information about autism.

I realize there is a good chance that there will be people in the anti-vaccine crowd who will try to denounce me as a propagandist and say other nasty things about my character and my work.  I really hope this doesn't come to pass; I'm a human being and like anyone else, I don't enjoy reading mean things about me written by angry, misinformed individuals. However, I know this is a distinct possibility, and I'm willing to accept that as I think education about the importance of vaccines is vital and worth any negativity thrown my way by the anti-science crowd.

Finally, this is a self-funded, self-published book that I researched, edited, and illustrated on my own time out of my passion for the topic.  I had a team of friends, family, and medical professionals, including several doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, and nurse practitioners fact-check my information.  They were not paid, either - all of them graciously volunteered their time. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to each and every one of them.  My royalty margin is intentionally set relatively low in order to keep the book affordable, and I intend to donate a portion of the proceeds to charities focused on vaccination efforts.  

Where can I find “All about Vaccines”?



I hope you enjoy the book! Please pass it 
along to anyone you think might find it helpful!

*Thanks for reading!*

TL; DR: Vaccines are awesome. They save lives, and I want to share their wonderfulness with everyone I can, so I wrote a book. I hope you like it!

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