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public health



  • Policing Religious Exemptions to Vaccines

    A lawsuit against Creighton University, a Jesuit institution, would expand the justification for religious exemptions to vaccination from explicit declarations of opposition by a religious body to any impulse of individual conscience. 



  • The Limits of My Empathy for Covid Deniers

    by Tressie McMillan Cottom

    "This is a social problem with big structural issues. That does not absolve me of my responsibility for seeing the humanity in people I vehemently disagree with, but it does make me feel less guilty about being unable to save them."



  • The Masked Professor vs. the Unmasked Student

    "Universities are caught between the demands of their faculty for greater safety precautions, and the fear of losing students, and the revenue they bring, if schools return to another year of online education."



  • We’re Begging Students to Save Our Lives

    by Amy Olberding

    "We beg teenagers to think of our babies, to feel for our dead, and please not to kill us. Some of them oblige. Some do not — an alarming number do not. The university’s response so far amounts to: Beg better."



  • The Agency of the Irresponsible

    by Sarah Swedberg

    When universities bend to political pressure and adopt "personal responsibility" policies for vaccination, masking, and social distancing they give agency to the irresponsible and take it away from those who are actively working to protect public health. 



  • The Long History of Vaccine Mandates

    by Lindsay M. Chervinsky

    President Biden's recent call for mandatory vaccination for federal workers follows the precedent set by George Washington's order to inoculate the Continental Army for smallpox.



  • AIDS Disappeared from Public View Without Ending. Will Covid-19 do the Same?

    by Dan Royles

    AIDS activism shifted from framing the epidemic as a political crisis to a medical problem, allowing the ongoing vulnerability of the poor to fade from view as pharmaceutical advances have helped control the spread and impact of HIV among the affluent. 


  • Paying People to Get Vaccines is an Old Idea Whose Time has Come Again

    by Margaret DeLacy

    John Haygarth devised a system for rewarding working-class residents of Chester for receiving the risky smallpox inoculation and maintaining social distance afterward. The effort was largely superseded by the more effective and safer Jenner vaccination, but was a foundational public health experiment that pays dividends today.


  • Vaccine Skeptics Should Heed George Washington’s Example

    by Robert Brent Toplin

    With the American Revolution hanging in the balance, Washington ordered the mass inoculation of the Continental Army against a smallpox pandemic. Would today's vaccine skeptics accuse him of trampling freedom?