A philosopher’s view of vaccines

For people who hesitate over vaccinations, it doesn’t matter if they’re told that vaccines are safe for everybody. They need to be assured that the shot is safe for them. 

Dr. Maya Goldenberg, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, has become a “go-to” specialist in Canada and beyond on everything from vaccine hesitancy to safety of COVID-19 vaccines. 

An expert in the philosophy of science and medicine, she has recently focused on why some people refuse vaccines or become wary of science – more or less the topic of her new book published this spring, Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science. 

She says vaccine acceptance is less about vaccine science and more about people’s perception of social and government structures around vaccines.  

For anyone discontented with government and institutional structures, that unease may be projected onto their view of vaccines, Goldenberg says.

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