Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy

Want to see what happens when two historians, a folklorist, and virologist come together to discuss vaccination? Please join us for Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy, a multidisciplinary discussion panel hosted by the Osler Library for the History of Medicine.

Monday, February 20th, 5:30-7:30PM
3rd Floor McIntyre Medical Building
3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler
Image of "vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway," by James Marvin, 1885.

“The recent smallpox epidemic in Montreal – vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway,” James Marvin, 1885. Osler Library Prints Collection.

The panel will include:

“Bestiality in a Time of Smallpox: Dr. Jenner and the Modern Chimera,” Rob Boddice, PhD FRHistS (Freie Universität Berlin), Historian of Medicine, Science and Emotions

‘The grease taken from the heels of horses: Collective Memory and Collective Silencing in the History of Vaccination Controversy,” Cynthia Tang, MSc MA (McGill University), PhD student in the History of Medicine

“Vaccination: Legend, Rumour, and Alternative Facts Throughout History,”
Andrea Kitta, PhD (East Carolina University), Folklorist specializing in medicine, belief and the supernatural

“Should vaccination against measles and other infectious agents if proven safe be compulsory?,”
Mark Wainberg, PhD OC OQ FRSC (McGill University), Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre

This panel is being held in promotion of the Osler Library’s current exhibition, Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, to explore some of the historical and contemporary cases of resistance to vaccination. Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy will aim at analysing the character of the fears and doubts of anti-vaccinists, and the successes and failures of vaccination’s proponents in addressing the concerns of their opponents. The contemporary rhetoric surrounding vaccination is implicitly connected to, and draws upon, two centuries of rehearsal. Recognising the essential structure of anti-vaccinist arguments in particular may provide new ways to address them. The panel works towards novel approaches to vaccination controversies, opening up new possibilities for contending with vaccine hesitancy in our own times.

 

Please join us in this discussion, followed by a wine & cheese reception.

 

Relevant reading: 
Andrea Kitta and Daniel Goldberg, “The Significance of Folklore for Vaccine Policy: Discarding the Deficit Model,” Critical Public Health (2016).
Rob Boddice, “Vaccination, Fear and Historical Relevance,” History Compass (2016).
Mark Wainberg, PhD OC OQ FRSC (McGill University) Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre

The exhibit, Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, is open to the public during library hours, Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00 and runs through the end of April 2017.

Both the exhibit and the speaker panel are co-sponsored by the McGill Faculty of Medicine and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Vernissage for new exhibition, Vaccination: Fear, Fame and Controversy, 1798-1998

Since its earliest days, vaccination has been attended by hesitation, resistance and controversy. Why did an innovation that promised to rid the world of the terrible scourge of smallpox inspire such enduring fear? When Jenner spearheaded the promotion of vaccination at the turn of the nineteenth century, he predicted the end of a disease that had taken 60 million lives in the eighteenth century alone. He was right, but it took until 1980 before the World Health Organization could proclaim “smallpox zero”. This exhibition explores the tension between the promised public-health benefits of vaccination and the reasons why resistance checked its acceptance. It seeks to understand the origins of vaccine hesitancy through various cases, both local and global, and demonstrates the legacy of those cases in contemporary vaccination debates. vffcredhighres

Please join us for a vernissage with wine and cheese for this exhibition, Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, at the Osler Library, 4:30-6:30PM.