Art Caplan: Prayer no substitute for vaccination

Art Caplan has a new opinion piece up at on a recent outbreak of measles centered around a church in Newark, Texas. From the piece:

The congregation of Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, recently discovered that prayer is no substitute for vaccination.

After visiting Indonesia, an unidentified visitor to the megachurch 50 miles outside Dallas — where ministers have long favored faith-healing over vaccinations — infected at least 21 people in the church and neighboring towns with measles. One victim was a 4-month old baby too young to receive a vaccination and thus totally dependent on others to do so.

Confronted with the measles outbreak, church leaders changed their tune, launched a vaccination drive, hosted vaccination clinics and encouraged the entire congregation to get immunized. The Old Testament is “full of precautionary measures,” senior pastor Terri Pearsons said after the mini-epidemic.

Theological revelation aside, Pearsons and other church leaders should have thought about this sooner. They and other vaccine resisters — from wealthy suburbanites who worry about the dangers they’ve heard from celebrities to conspiracy theorists who see only corporate profits driving a push to cover-up risks — are directly to blame for spreading unwarranted fear of vaccines.

Read the full article here.

One thought to “Art Caplan: Prayer no substitute for vaccination”

  1. Please note: We do not generally moderate comments on Bill of Health posts. We do, however, have a spam filter, which sometimes catches legitimate comments. If your comment does not appear when you submit it, feel free to email us at to let us know and we will retrieve the comment for you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.