Vaccines: Ending the pandemic in a world plagued by rumours and scepticism
April 15 @ 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Confidence in the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines has diminished in many countries. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten global health threats. What factors contribute to feelings of vaccine hesitancy and confidence? In the context of the current Covid-19 crisis, how will public opinion surrounding vaccines impact the world’s ability to overcome the crisis?
On April 15, Professor Heidi J. Larson, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Dr Jonathan Kennedy, of Queen Mary University of London, will speak at LIDC’s webinar on reasons for – and impacts of – vaccine confidence and hesitancy. In the context of Covid-19, Professor Larson will discuss her analyses of social and political factors affecting uptake of vaccinations, as well as addressing how vaccine rumours start, how and why they gain traction, and why people believe such rumours. Dr Kennedy will focus on the link between populist politics and vaccine hesitancy. We invite you to be part of this timely and important conversation.
Heidi J. Larson is a Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science, and the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at LSHTM. She previously headed Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF and served on the WHO SAGE Working Group on vaccine hesitancy.
Prof. Larson’s research focuses on analysis of social and political factors affecting uptake of health interventions and influence policies. Her particular interest is risk and rumour management from clinical trials to delivery and building public trust. Prof. Larsons is also the Principal Investigator for a global study including that of Public Sentiments and Emotions Around Current and Potential Measures to Contain and Treat COVID-19.
With her vast front-line experience, she authored ‘STUCK: How Vaccine Rumors Start – and Why They Don’t Go Away’. She asks: why do people believe vaccine rumours?
Dr Jonathan Kennedy is a Senior Lecturer in Global Public Health at Queen Mary University, and is currently director MSc global public health programmes. Jonathan has a PhD in sociology from the University of Cambridge. Broadly speaking, his research is focused on the impact of politics and infectious diseases, and in the last few years Jonathan has concentrated on the drivers of vaccine hesitancy. Most notably, he published an article in European Journal of Public Health on the link between populist politics and vaccine hesitancy in Europe that highlights some of the broader impacts of the breakdown in trust in elites and experts on public health.
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