‚In the Name of Our Own Fear‘: Eula Biss on Vaccination, Privilege and Fear


In light of the recent measles outbreak in California, I want to share this excerpt from an interview with Eula Biss, author of On Immunity. After the birth of her first child, Biss’s research turned to vaccination, and she ruminated on a culture in which no man, woman or child is an island. Michael Schulson interviewed Biss at Salon:

Salon: You point out that people who oppose vaccination tend to be wealthier, whiter and more educated than the population at large. Why does this kind of social (but not medical) immunity hold a particular attraction for this demographic group?

Eula Biss: I should say that there are a few different demographics that tend not to vaccinate.

I think there’s a lot going on there, actually. Maybe the largest component is the kind of thinking that attends privilege. What I mean is a pattern of thought that’s been developed over a long period…

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