In Anticipation of Future Resistance

Vaccine administrators fear that with the increased flows of information accompanying globalization, immunization resistance will increase. Such resistance is considered especially problematic when new vaccines are introduced. In contrast, existing vaccines tend to become part of local health cultures and are viewed with less suspicion. Hardon (1998) describes how a global network of women's health organizations successfully opposed experiments with anti-fertility vaccines. The women's health groups feared that the vaccines would disrupt their immune systems and lead to menstrual disorders. Anticipating resistance, anthropologists have been asked to conduct cultural feasibility studies in preparation for AIDS vaccine trials. The aim of such studies is to investigate AIDS-related beliefs, acceptability of the vaccine to trial participants, and community reactions and repercussions to the trial (Coreil et al., 1998). In the conclusions of such studies, anthropologists recommend in-depth educational preparations of trial populations ensuring that the effects of the vaccine, and the design of trials (including placebo groups), are understood. Streefland (2002), reviewing findings on acceptability of vaccines, suggests that the most important determinant of future acceptance of AIDS vaccines is better quality vaccination practices by health staff. When a vaccine is introduced for a prevailing deadly disease such as AIDS, vaccination demand is likely to be great.

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