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The politics of vaccination

A global history

Edited by: Christine Holmberg, Stuart Blume and Paul Greenough

In this book scholars from across the globe investigate changes in ‘society’ and ‘nation’ over time through the lens of immunisation. Such an analysis unmasks the idea of vaccination as a simple health technology and makes visible the social and political complexities in which vaccination programmes are embedded. The collection of essays gives a comparative overview of immunisation at different times in widely different parts of the world and under different types of political regime. Core themes in the chapters include immunisation as an element of state formation; citizens’ articulation of seeing (or not seeing) their needs incorporated into public health practice; allegations that development aid is inappropriately steering third-world health policies; and an ideological shift that treats vaccines as marketable and profitable commodities rather than as essential tools of public health. Throughout, the authors explore relationships among vaccination, vaccine-making, and the discourses and debates on citizenship and nationhood that have accompanied mass vaccination campaigns. The thoughtful investigations of vaccination in relation to state power, concepts of national identify (and sense of solidarity) and individual citizens’ sense of obligation to self and others are completed by an afterword by eminent historian of vaccination William Muraskin. Reflecting on the well-funded global initiatives which do not correspond to the needs of poor countries, Muraskin asserts that an elite fraternity of self-selected global health leaders has undermined the United Nations system of collective health policy determination by launching global disease eradication and immunisation programmes over the last twenty years.

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Britta Lundgren and Martin Holmberg

10 Pandemic flus and vaccination policies in Sweden Britta Lundgren and Martin Holmberg Introduction During the summer of 2010, unexpected reports of narcolepsy in Swedish children and adolescents after vaccination with the pandemic influenza vaccine Pandemrix came to the attention of the Medical Products Agency (MPA). The main features of this condition are

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Elisha P. Renne

11 Polio vaccination, political authority and the Nigerian state Elisha P. Renne So I told him [a soldier] that even if they are going to kill me, I will not allow the governor to enter my house … I also said in the governor's presence that even if President Jonathan comes here, I will not allow them to immunize my child. So the governor

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Vaccination and the communist state

Polio in Eastern Europe

Dora Vargha

3 Vaccination and the communist state: polio in Eastern Europe Dora Vargha In December 1959, Hungary introduced into its national immunisation programme the Sabin vaccine, the live poliovirus vaccine that has been the tool of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since 1988. This campaign put Hungary in the front line of polio vaccination with live virus vaccines along with the Soviet

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Fallacy, sacrilege, betrayal and conspiracy

The cultural construction of opposition to immunisation in India

Niels Brimnes

2 Fallacy, sacrilege, betrayal and conspiracy: the cultural construction of opposition to immunisation in India Niels Brimnes Immunisation in India – an outline In January 1819 the Madras Courier published an interesting note by Calvi Virumbon, in which it was claimed that vaccination against smallpox was known in India before Jenner's famous discovery in 1796. Virumbon wrote that he

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‘A vaccine for the nation'

South Korea’s development of a hepatitis B vaccine and national prevention strategy focused on newborns

Eun Kyung Choi and Young-Gyung Paik

way to save the nation from the dishonour of being an underdeveloped country. Second, a domestic HBV vaccine was developed to forge a more independent path for modernisation, although with international assistance. Third, the first national prevention strategy using the vaccine was implemented. Later, in 1985, the vaccination programme was modified to focus on the vaccination of newborn babies, the future of the nation

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A distinctive nation

Vaccine policy and production in Japan

Julia Yongue

8 A distinctive nation: vaccine policy and production in Japan Julia Yongue Introduction Public health authorities in every nation have devised distinctive policies to deal with the prevention and spread of infectious diseases, what Jeffrey Baker has referred to as a national ‘style’ of vaccination. 1 While Japan's climate and geography as an island nation in the Far

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Stuart Blume

6 The erosion of public sector vaccine production: the case of the Netherlands Stuart Blume Introduction Despite earlier resistance to compulsory smallpox vaccination, by 1900 the possibility of protection against diphtheria was greeted with hopeful anticipation. Diphtheria, a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract, caused the deaths of many children. At the end of the

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The MMR debate in the United Kingdom

Vaccine scares, statesmanship and the media

Andrea Stöckl and Anna Smajdor

childhood autism. 1 This publication inflamed an already existing debate on the role of childhood vaccination in the UK and contributed to a substantial decline in vaccination uptake in the UK in the early 2000s. 2 The impact of this decline was still being felt in 2012 and 2013 when a measles epidemic broke out in the Welsh city of Swansea, in which one person died and 1,200 young adults were diagnosed with measles. This

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Yellow fever vaccine in Brazil

Fighting a tropical scourge, modernising the nation

Jaime Benchimol

In 1883, the Central Board for Public Health authorised Freire to inoculate people with an attenuated form of Criptococcus xantogenicus . At first, the yellow fever vaccine was administered at the Instituto Vacínico, which was responsible for smallpox vaccination, but soon it was taken out to the cortiços (slums) and other working-class areas. In the late nineteenth century, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of an imperial slavocracy