Vaccination Research Group Publications and Presentations

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  • ‘Poisonous, Filthy, Loathsome, Damnable Stuff’: The Rhetorical Ecology of Vaccination Concern
    Hausman, Bernice L.; Ghebremichael, Mecal; Hayek, Philip; Mack, Erin (Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2014)
    In this article, we analyze newspaper articles and advertisements mentioning vaccination from 1915 to 1922 and refer to historical studies of vaccination practices and attitudes in the early 20th century in order to assess historical continuities and discontinuities in vaccination concern. In the Progressive Era period, there were a number of themes or features that resonated with contemporary issues and circumstances: 1) fears of vaccine contamination; 2) distrust of medical professionals; 3) resistance to compulsory vaccination; and 4) the local nature of vaccination concern. Such observations help scholars and practitioners understand vaccine skepticism as longstanding, locally situated, and linked to the sociocultural contexts in which vaccination occurs and is mandated for particular segments of the population. A rhetorical approach offers a way to understand how discourses are engaged and mobilized for particular purposes in historical contexts. Historically situating vaccine hesitancy and addressing its articulation with a particular rhetorical ecology offers scholars and practitioners a robust understanding of vaccination concerns that can, and should, influence current approaches to vaccination skepticism.
  • Vaccination Persuasion Online: A Qualitative Study of two Provaccine and two Vaccine Skeptical Websites
    Grant, Leonard Francis III; Hausman, Bernice L.; Cashion, Margaret; Lucchesi, Nicholas; Patel, Kelsey; Roberts, Jonathan (Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2015)
    Current concerns about vaccination resistance often cite the Internet as a source of vaccine controversy. Most academic studies of vaccine resistance online use quantitative methods to describe misinformation on vaccine-skeptical websites. Findings from these studies are useful for categorizing the generic features of these websites, but they do not provide insights into why these websites successfully persuade their viewers. To date, there have been few attempts to understand, qualitatively, the persuasive features of provaccine or vaccine-skeptical websites. The purpose of this research was to examine the persuasive features of provaccine and vaccine-skeptical websites. The qualitative analysis was conducted to generate hypotheses concerning what features of these websites are persuasive to people seeking information about vaccination and vaccine-related practices.