Toward a Civilized Vaccination Discussion: Abandoning the False Assumption that Scientific Goals Are Shared by All

Zimmerman, Anne Houck

While many attribute vaccine hesitancy to a lack of understanding science and a decrease in the acknowledgement of facts presented by those with expertise, this paper argues vaccine hesitancy depends on other factors, primarily a lack of trust in the pharmaceutical and governmental sectors and a set of priorities that is not always aligned with those of the scientific community. While vaccine hesitancy is often propelled by protective instincts, it also reflects the plurality of views surrounding medicalization, the role of science in people’s family and personal choices, and the appropriate goal of demanding industry accountability. Derogatory language for those who are vaccination hesitant is not respectful or effective and furthers the distrust and reputational problems associated with pharmaceutical companies, government, and medicine.


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February 19, 2021


Keywords Vaccines, Vaccine hesitancy, anti-vax, pharmaceutical trust, bioethics