Vaccine Hysteria

  • Katharine Robertson


Vaccine hesitancy—the conscious refusal of all or some vaccines, delaying vaccination, or continuing on the schedule with doubts or misgivings—has been identified by the World Health Organisation as one of this century’s top ten threats to public health.[2] The phenomenon has been discussed at length by sociologists, public health workers, medical practitioners, and laypeople alike. However, despite it being well known that mothers make most healthcare decisions for their children [1,3,4] and that their experience of healthcare is different to that of men,[5] few have attempted to tackle its highly-gendered nature.[6] In light of this, vaccine hesitancy will be briefly examined here using feminist theory, beginning with a brief outline of the history of the anti-vaccination movement and further explanation on why feminism is specifically relevant to this topic. Next, second-wave feminism’s criticism of the medical establishment will be explored, before finishing with a look at how the patriarchal tool of mother-blame has contributed to the continued rejection of such a cheap and safe public health intervention.

How to Cite
Robertson, K. (2020). Vaccine Hysteria. AMSA Journal of Global Health, 14(1), 16-20. Retrieved from
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