Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Expression of privilege in vaccine refusal

Date:
August 27, 2014
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
Not all students returning to school this month will be up to date on their vaccinations. A new study shows that the reasons why children may not be fully vaccinated depends on the class privilege of their mothers. Middle and upper class "vaccine-refusers" are mothers who have the resources, education, and time to make decisions regarding vaccinations. These mothers consent only to vaccines they believe are most beneficial for their children and instead rely on other practices they see as rendering vaccines less necessary.

Not all students returning to school this month will be up to date on their vaccinations. A new study conducted by Jennifer Reich, a researcher at the University of Colorado Denver, shows that the reasons why children may not be fully vaccinated depends on the class privilege of their mothers.

Related Articles


According to the National Network for Immunization Information, three children per 1000 in the U.S. have never received any vaccines, with almost half of all children receiving vaccines later than recommended. The number of unvaccinated children has led to several recent vaccine-preventable outbreaks in the U.S., including measles and whooping cough.

Published in Gender & Society, a journal in Gender Studies and Sociology field, Reich's research shows that unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children from higher income backgrounds, with parents who are higher educated, have parents who intentionally choose to refuse or delay vaccinations out of a belief that they are protecting their children. On the other hand, children from families with lower incomes and with less educated parents tend to be under-vaccinated because they lack access to resources.

Reich, a professor of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at CU Denver, found that middle and upper class "vaccine-refusers" are mothers who have the resources, education, and time to make decisions regarding vaccinations. These mothers consent only to vaccines they believe are most beneficial for their children and instead rely on other intensive practices they see as rendering vaccines less necessary. Breastfeeding, healthy nutrition, and monitoring social interactions and travel were listed as alternatives to vaccination and ways to prevent disease exposure.

"Vaccine-refusers see themselves as experts on their own children and question the relevance of public health claims that vaccines are necessary for all children," said Reich. "They trust that "mother's intuition," alongside their own personal research, is the best way to protect their children from potential harm."

On the other hand, mothers in low income families often do not have time to consider individual choices around vaccination. If their children are under-vaccinated it is more likely due to lack of access to medical care. This same lack of health care access makes poor children who are under-vaccinated potentially more vulnerable to health risks as rates of vaccine-preventable diseases continue to rise.

Reich's findings suggest women with more time, education, and resources claim greater freedom to reject public health interventions, which potentially carries consequences for undervaccinated children from lower income backgrounds who may not have access to care.

"Those who can reject vaccines without health risks are able to do so because they are protected by the large portion of the population who is vaccinated," said Reich. "Upper class parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids understand that they could be putting others at risk, but reiterated that their own children are their primary responsibility and suggest other mothers should advocate for their own children."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. The original article was written by Anne Williams. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. A. Reich. Neoliberal Mothering and Vaccine Refusal: Imagined Gated Communities and the Privilege of Choice. Gender & Society, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0891243214532711

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Expression of privilege in vaccine refusal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827141702.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2014, August 27). Expression of privilege in vaccine refusal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827141702.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Expression of privilege in vaccine refusal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827141702.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins