Daniel Artus – Vaccine Hesitancy, Confidence and Empathy


When:  Thursday, February 20th 2020, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

Daniel Artus

Vaccines are a cornerstone of global public heath, having prevented sickness and death at enormous scale – even eliminating or near-eliminating deadly diseases. What, then, leads to reject or doubt the safety of simple procedure that so many of us easily accept?

This short talk explore specific crises of vaccine confidence through a series of case studies. From the Nigerian polio vaccine boycott in 2003 to recent concerns over the HPV vaccine, each scenario sets out specific drivers behind vaccine hesitancy, refusal and acceptance.

Drawing on ethnography and public health literature, the talk will set out some the myriad reasons that many communities may mistrust of what appears a to be common sense to so many of us, whist highlighting how this foundation of empathy is critical in individual and policy responses to the issue.

Dan is a second year PhD student in digital and medical anthropology studying HPV vaccination in the Republic of Ireland. His research explores the reconfiguration of knowledge, expertise and power through complex infoscapes that create the social and material life of HPV. Engaging with public health groups, local communities and a variety of vaccine sceptical groups, he is interested in the information practises and complex local and national dynamics that underpin the drop and recovery of HPV vaccine uptake across the country since 2015. Prior to his PhD, he gained a distinction in his MSc in Digital Anthropology at University College London and worked with the Extreme Citizen Science group as a research assistant. He has a professional background in data analytics and architecture and an undergraduate degree in Theology from Oxford University Regent’s Park College. His wider research interests focus on the gender, sexuality, politics, religion and the philosophy of science and technology.

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