Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception

Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception

Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception

Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception

Synopsis

Vaccinations and Public Concern in History explores vernacular beliefs and practices that surround decisions not to vaccinate. Through the use of ethnographic, media, and narrative analyses, this book explores the vernacular explanatory models used in inoculation decision-making. The research on which the book draws was designed to help create public health education programs and promotional materials that respond to patients' fears, understandings of risk, concerns, and doubts. Exploring the nature of inoculation distrust and miscommunication, Dr. Andrea Kitta identifies areas that require better public health communication and greater cultural sensitivity in the handling of inoculation programs.

Excerpt

The video begins with gentle piano music and a simple dedication to a friend named Gabrielle (Gabby) Swank. Information about this young woman is juxtaposed with pictures of her laughing and posing for a cheerleading picture. Then we are told that one day, this all changed. A picture of the Gardasil vaccine appears and we learn that “Gabby was diagnosed with the inflammation of the central nervous system as a result of the Gardasil vaccines” (Gardasil 2009). We learn she is no longer a cheerleader and lives a life of constant pain, suffering from seizures, headaches, paralysis, and other disorders. Now the picture of Gabby is not of a smiling young woman, but rather shows her in a hospital bed. We see pictures of her medications, as we learn that she now spends most of her time sleeping or seeking medical care. We learn that Gabby’s mother feels guilty for giving her daughter the vaccines, even though it was only to protect her from a family history of cervical cancer. Then the video tells us that Gabrielle knows she is dying. Again we see pictures of her before the vaccination juxtaposed with a quote from Gabby herself, “I’ve accepted the fact it’s happened to me, but I’m tired of hearing of other girls it’s happened to” (Gardasil 2009). We see more smiling photos prior to the incident and more quotes from Gabby and her family stating that if they could go back, they would not get the vaccine and would have gotten regular pap smears instead. We are told that twenty-eight women have reportedly died as a result of the vaccine and that thousands have reported reactions, but the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have kept the vaccine on the market because the benefits outweigh the risks. The viewer is asked to take action and is given the website for the National Vaccine Information Center, which gives additional information, links, and other personal stories. The video itself has 944 comments, both positive and negative. But is it true?

In spite of the success of the childhood inoculation movement, the public has increasingly asked questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Recent research and media coverage also shows that parents are increasingly choosing to not vaccinate their children. For instance, one study of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.