As the world moves towards implementing a mass vaccination program for COVID-19, new Trent University research is exploring vaccine hesitancy, with a specific focus on gender and social justice.
Dr. Kelly McGuire, associate professor of English and Gender & Women's Studies, and chair of Gender and Women’s Studies, is one of 18 faculty members across a variety of disciplines awarded grants by Trent University’s Research & Innovation Office to inform the societal response to COVID-19 and potential future infectious disease outbreaks.
Professor McGuire is exploring how an idea of a vaccine gets imagined by the broader public (on social media and in cultural spaces) and vilified even before it comes into being.
“Vaccine hesitancy is typically associated with anxious mothers in the broader public, but will this necessarily be the same for a COVID-19 vaccine?” Prof. McGuire says. “If we understand the specific dynamics of vaccine hesitancy, and the history behind it, we will be in a stronger position to reach those who are hesitant.”
Blog space and discussion forum
Part of her project involves building alternative resources for the local community (including a blog space and a discussion forum) in the hope these may be of relevance to information seekers, particularly those who identify themselves as “on the fence” and are interested in joining a larger conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ultimately, this research attempts to focus on concerns relating to social justice and gender – areas that public-health campaigns have been criticized for not sufficiently addressing in the past.
Learn more about Trent’s Gender and Women’s Studies program, which offers a range of flexible degree options.