Education Material - 'Vaccination'
Resistance to vaccination is as old as the procedure itself, but organized resistance arose in the European context only in the 1850s and 1860s, as nations began to use their expanding public health apparatus to require vaccination. Initially organized against smallpox vaccination, much of the protest was based upon the procedure as a challenge to religious concepts of disease and death as divine will. More secular arguments posited that vaccination was a foreign “poison” which violated the integrity of the body, causing imbalance and illness. Suspicion against the growing power of the state and licensed medicine added fuel to resistance, as states used coercion to enforce vaccination amongst populations.
In colonial contexts around the world, the imposition of foreign Western medical technologies upon valuable subject populations was integral to the projection of power under colonialism. Resistance in colonial and post-colonial contexts sometimes took on the mantle of explicit anti-colonialism but more often was expressed as disengagement and apathy. Where vaccines were indigenized and local authorities integrated into the vaccination process/infrastructure, vaccination generally received more favorable and widespread reception.
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, increasingly vocal critics of vaccination in the developed world launch ethical, moral, religious, and safety concerns against the practice. For example, detractors have cited scientifically unsubstantiated fears of negative health effects in children, correlating chemicals (such as mercury and aluminium) utilized in manufacturing processes with developmental disorders such as autism...
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