News & Events

November 11

SciComm Speaker Series: “Vaccine Dissent and the Post-COVID Landscape”

Bernice Hausman

Time: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Location: Zoom

Speaker: Bernice L. Hausman, Chair of the Department of Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, public conversation about vaccine dissent focused largely on childhood vaccines and parental resistance. The reviled imago of the antivaxxer was a mother, usually white and educated, who resisted routine childhood vaccinations through scientific misunderstanding, gullibility to internet charlatans, or misplaced beliefs in natural approaches to health and wellness. COVID-19 changed all that. As the pandemic wore on and new rationales for vaccine dissent emerged, they were increasingly understood through the politics of race. First Black and brown communities were a focus of the new understanding, as these communities experience significant distrust of medicine due to histories of exploitation and discrimination. Then rural white and politically conservative communities became foci of interest, especially as Republicans have resisted calls for vaccine mandates to stem the tide of the Delta variant.

What is going on in our understanding of vaccine dissent and the politics of vaccine refusal? In tracing arguments about who dissents and why they do so, Dr. Hausman will explore how COVID has upended received ideas about what causes and sustains vaccine skepticism.

Zoom link: https://psu.zoom.us/j/93478458839?pwd=NVNTZXgremtpbXM4NkhSUExucm1iUT09

Website: https://psu.zoom.us/j/93478458839?pwd=NVNTZXgremtpbXM4NkhSUExucm1iUT09

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