bioethics seminar - Joint Centre for Bioethics



bioethics seminar - Joint Centre for Bioethics
April 15, 2015, 4:10-5:30 pm
155 College St., Room 108 (main floor, to the right of the elevators)
This event will be webcast:
Childhood Vaccination and the Moral Work of
Motherhood: Putting Vaccine Resistance into
Alison Thompson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Leslie Dan
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto
Abstract: Vaccinations have been widely hailed as one of the most effective and important
developments in public health even as rates of vaccine uptake have dropped within the middle
class of high income countries. This problem is often characterized as one of skewed parental risk
perception, and misinformation made more prolific by the advent of the internet. This paper
reports on the findings from a qualitative, narrative study of maternal experiences with childhood
vaccination which seeks to challenge this notion. The findings indicate that neoliberal public
health regimes have created mothers who are hyper-vigilant risk managers, and whose experiences
with vaccination are embedded within their broader health narratives about being a “good
mother.” It is posited that public health has created the very maternal subjectivities that allowed the
emergence of this form of resistance inevitable. I explore the implications of the paradox of how
these ideal public health citizens can resist the imperative to vaccinate, with particular reference to
our notions of what it means to be a good public health citizen.
155 College Street, Ste. 754, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1P8 Canada Tel.: [416] 978-2709
Fax: [416] 978-1911
A partnership among the University of Toronto; Baycrest Health Sciences; Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; Centre for Clinical Ethics, a joint venture of Providence
Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and St. Michael’s Hospital; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab; The Hospital for Sick Children; Humber River Hospital; Mount Sinai Hospital;
North York General Hospital; Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Toronto Community Care Access Centre; Trillium Health Partners; and University Health Network (Princess
Margaret Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and Toronto Western Hospital).

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