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Vanderbilt University

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Program Name

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy


Vaccine hesitancy is a public health issue of growing concern. Extensive pre-existing literature offers several explanations and conflicting viewpoints regarding reluctance toward vaccinations. However, minimal research has been done exploring the upstream social determinants driving vaccine hesitancy. Utilizing academic and gray literature and interviews with experts in the field, this study addresses this gap in knowledge with the research question: To what extent does privilege impact vaccine hesitancy and resistance? Vaccine hesitancy appears globally and is particularly concerning given the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). Additionally, due to inconsistent causes, vaccine hesitancy is difficult to combat. In referencing the history of the anti-vaccination movement and clearly defining social determinants of health (SDH), this study provides clear evidence that suggests a relationship between vaccine hesitancy and privilege, defined as educational achievement and socio-economic status (SES). Nevertheless, the association between the two is difficult to define given the dichotomous presentation of both low and high privilege with increased vaccine hesitancy. Perhaps knowledge of the relationship of vaccine reluctance with the two extremes of privilege can pave the way for future research into the understanding of this phenomenon.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Epidemiology | Inequality and Stratification | Infectious Disease | Influenza Humans | Influenza Virus Vaccines | International Public Health | Medicine and Health | Virus Diseases


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