Risk and Rumours in Global Health: The case of vaccines
More than most other health interventions, vaccines provoke anxiety, perceptions of risk and rumours. Vaccines are regulated— and sometimes mandated— by government, resisted by those who feel their personal freedoms are imposed on. They are also produced by the pharmaceutical industry, which – even in their most generous and humanity-driven moments – aim to generate profit, provoking public concerns about their motives. All this, is the challenging context for a health intervention that has proven decades of success in saving millions of lives and preventing disease and disability.
Heidi Larson, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at LSHTM.