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#4 - Physician: Stories of people developing serious health

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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen—CE. The correct answer choice is (C)

The physician in this stimulus dismisses concerns that vaccinations are unsafe. The concern regarding the safety of vaccinations resulted from stories involving people developing serious health problems shortly after receiving vaccinations. The stories imply that the vaccines are causing the health problems. Without denying the truth of the stories, the physician says that even if it is true that some people have developed serious health problems shortly after receiving vaccinations, there is no cause for concern. The physician supports this position using numbers: because millions of people are vaccinated every year, it is to be expected that some of the people being vaccinated would develop serious health problems shortly after their vaccinations, simply by coincidence.

To review, here is how the argument proceeds, though reordered and restated for clarity:

    Premise: ..... stories of people developing serious health problems shortly after receiving vaccinations have given ..... ..... ..... rise to the question of whether vaccination is safe

    Premise: ..... with millions of people being vaccinated every year, it is to be expected that some will develop health ..... ..... ..... problems purely by coincidence shortly after receiving vaccinations

    Conclusion: ..... thus, even if it is true that people are developing serious health problems shortly after receiving ..... ..... ..... vaccinations, these incidents need not be cause for concern about the safety of vaccination

Your prephrase in this Strengthen question is that the correct answer choice will support the physician’s conclusion that even if people are developing serious health problems shortly after vaccinations, such incidents need not be cause for concern because they do not reflect a causal connection between vaccination and the development of serious health problems.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice does not strengthen the theory that the health problems developed by coincidence. Rather, this information implies that only a subset of vaccines, those that were recently introduced, are involved in stories of people developing serious health problems.

Answer choice (B): This answer choice supports the idea that not all vaccinations are necessary, rather than the idea that the health problems developed by coincidence.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. To establish the causal relationship that the vaccinations led to serious health problems, the evidence must show that the health problems arose only after the vaccinations. If the evidence does not establish this sequence of events, then the evidence does not support a causal relationship. Since the physician concluded there is no causal relationship between the vaccinations and serious health problems, but rather mere coincidence, this answer choice supports the conclusion.

Answer choice (D): This answer choice implies that vaccinations are not worth the risk of the serious health problems that they may produce. However, this information is relevant to the argument only if it is first established that there is a causal relationship between vaccinations and health problems.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice is irrelevant to the conclusion because it relates to “other medications,” and not to the vaccinations at issue in the stimulus.