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Two shots for children

Chapter in book
Authors Lisa Lindén
Sina Busse
Published in Johnson E. (eds) Gendering Drugs: Feminist Studies of Pharmaceuticals
Pages 189-209
ISBN 978-3-319-51486-4
Publisher Palgrave Macmillian
Publication year 2017
Published at
Pages 189-209
Language en
Keywords HPV vaccination; Austria; public health; gender; social worlds
Subject categories Gender Studies, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Sociology, Technology and social change

Abstract

In February 2014 Austria became the first European country to offer the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to both girls and boys for free. This chapter discusses how this has involved a discursive shift from the individual girl “at risk” to the population of children as the vaccination recipient. With the help of Adele Clarke’s social worlds/arenas approach, we discuss the discursive positions taken by a range of different governmental and non-governmental actors concerning the HPV vaccine. Combining an analysis of public information material with an analysis of interviews with administration and health-care staff, the chapter highlights how gender, sexual disease transmission and immunization are articulated and discussed in the chosen social worlds of the Austrian HPV vaccination arena. In relation to that, we stress how a changed management of HPV vaccine evidence has crucial consequences for how the vaccination recipient and, in a broader sense, the Austrian population are constructed. We argue that the current discourse in Austria differs fundamentally from how the HPV vaccine often is framed as an individual, yet gendered, risk responsibility. In the current dominant Austrian discourse, herd immunity is anticipated through transformed relations between the individual and the population.

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