Recent policy conversations about vaccination programmes primarily target the problem of vaccine hesitancy and the lack of public participation at the level required for community immunity, or herd immunity. In this editorial, we will first explore the nature of public vaccine hesitancy, review what is known and demonstrate the significance of understanding vaccine hesitancy in the COVID-19 context. We argue that sociological research indicates that to sufficiently grasp vaccine hesitancy in the twenty-first century it is necessary to consider several aspects: the nature of medical decision-making, trust, risk and social responsibility, and the role of information technology and various forms of media. There are also questions about what influences the (successful) development and provision of a vaccine – issues that have been brought sharply into focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, in the second half of the editorial, we move to consider the supply side of vaccination. We examine what shapes this configuration and consider the role of key players such as those who manufacture the vaccines and, in turn, those who regulate development, again with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
With thanks to Dr. Richard Bates for recommendations relating to the social history of medicine and vaccination. And to the editor Dr Patrick Brown for a number of highly useful comments.
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- Vaccine hesitancy
- vaccine development