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Medical Humanities Lecture | Elena Conis: “Vaccine Resistance in Historical Perspective”

Event Type
Supported by HRI Medical Humanities Research Cluster, the Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Arts and Humanities and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine
Mar 23, 2023   4:00 pm  
Justine Murison

Hesitancy and resistance to vaccination is more common than not in U.S. history. Many age-old vaccination objections—including those grounded in religious beliefs, secular values, political ideology, and distrust in powerful interest groups—have persisted for more than two hundred years. The modern era of vaccination, which dawned in the 1950s, has been (until very recently) unique for its emphasis on compulsory vaccination of children, the visibility of so-called anti-vaccine views, and the often-overlooked but historically unprecedented acceptance of mandatory vaccination of the youngest citizens, all engendering their own forms of vaccination objection. This talk will place trends in the modern era of vaccination in the context of issues related to the nuclear family, economy, health care, and federal politics. It will also discuss how shifting social values, environmental concerns, gender roles, the valuation of children, and the relationship between secular and religious values inform vaccination skepticism. Finally, it will consider how today’s vaccination discourse and behaviors both echo and depart from historical trends in vaccination resistance and acceptance. 

To register for this virtual talk, please contact Professor Justine Murison.

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