Vaccine hesitancy to be explored from various perspectives

Vaccine photo

The X-Boundaries event will focus on vaccination hesitancy.

The varied reasons for vaccine hesitancy will be examined by seven faculty members and one community health official in “X-Boundaries: Addressing the Vaccine Hesitancy”, a virtual event Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.” X-Boundaries” is College of the Pacific’s annual event that tackles topical issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives.

How can vaccination avoidance or trepidation be explained from the perspective of a psychologist? An historian? An ethicist? Those views and others will be shared in 4-minute mini lectures by the participants, followed by a question and answer session.

Professor of Psychology Matt Normand said he appreciates the timed presentations, moving quickly from discipline to discipline so the perspectives “blend together and hopefully lead to an excellent Q and A session.”

Normand will speak on factors that make it easy for vaccine misinformation to fuel vaccine hesitancy and refusal.

“You have to try to understand the basic science of vaccinations, the public health side of getting the jabs in the arms, and then understand something about the psychology of things that might prevent people from getting jabs in the arm,” Normand said. “And then there are the tales from the front line that are needed to really tell the story about vaccine hesitancy.”

Joining Normand are:

  • Joe Harrison (chemistry) and Paul Orwin (biology): Vaccines and our immune system;
  • Jennifer Helgren (history): How the United States has reacted to vaccines in the past and how the politics of pandemics is not new; 
  • Sarah Mathis (anthropology/international studies): Cultural reasons for hesitation;
  • Shahar Sansani (economics): Health disparities in the United States and how they factor into vaccine hesitancy;
  • George Randels (religious studies, ethics): The ethical dilemmas of individual rights versus public good;
  • Joan Singson, (Director of Population Health Management for San Joaquin County): Our current situation for San Joaquin County clinics.

“We hope to enrich the conversations that people have had about the history and the challenges that surround public health and vaccinations,” said College of the Pacific Dean Rena Fraden, who will moderate the discussion. “We are seeking conversations that will be meaningful to those who attend, regardless of their background or point of view.”

Previous X-Boundaries topics have included “Diversity Gaps in Media and Entertainment” (2020) and “Sowing SEED: Stockton’s Guaranteed Basic Income Program” (2019).