Cheap survival and a too-expensive vaccine: Racial valuation and hepatitis B in Africa, 1980s-1990s
This paper tracks plasma-based hepatitis B vaccines through debates about their testing, production, and provision in/for West Africa in the 1980s and 1990s.
This talk considers how the stakes of vaccine priciness were differently calculated and imagined across spaces (and times) of economic and epidemiological disparity. I attend to how such calculations of vaccine value was enmeshed with implicit (de)valuations of Black lives and body parts in three debates about experimentation, plasma-sourcing and cost-effectiveness. I explain how it was not just socio-spatial patterns of vaccine accessibility that were racialized, but also the modes by which these were rendered acceptable.
- Noémi Tousignant, Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies, UCL.
Noémi Tousignant is lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at University College London and currently holds a Wellcome Trust University Award. Her work explores intersections of scientific and health inequality in West Africa. Her current project looks at primary liver cancer as a case of inequality formed through the making of biomedical knowledge about carcinogenic exposures, the deployment of technologies for controlling these, and the privatization of care. Edges of Exposure (Duke, 2018) is her first monograph.