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Making sense of the link between anti-establishment politics and vaccine hesitancy

Lecture by Jonathan Kennedy, Queen Mary University of London

Add to calendar 2021-05-18 16:00 2021-05-18 17:00 Europe/Rome Making sense of the link between anti-establishment politics and vaccine hesitancy Online Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


18 May 2021

16:00 - 17:00 CEST




This lecture is part of the MWP Multidisciplinary Research Workshop: "Turning the Tide: Contemporary Challenges to Health and Healthcare in Europe and Beyond".

The workshop is organised by Max Weber Fellows: Tamara Popic, Alexandru Moise, Mirjam Reutter, Katarzyna Doniec, Takuya Onoda, Aline Bertolin.

From popular modernism to post-modern populism? Making sense of the link between anti-establishment politics and vaccine hesitancy

Vaccines and vaccination programmes are amongst the most remarkable achievements of, respectively, medical science and public health. Even though vaccines provide the only clear path out of the death and devastation caused by Covid-19, a significant minority of people in Western Europe and the North America have said they will not get vaccinated. There is a strong association between voting for anti-establishment political parties and vaccine hesitancy. This talk argues that support for populist politicians and low vaccine confidence are driven by similar dynamics: a profound distrust in elites and experts. Public health actors traditionally aim to improve vaccine uptake by raising awareness about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. There are limits to this strategy, however. The distrust of elites and experts that is driving vaccine hesitancy will be difficult to resolve unless its underlying causes—i.e., political disenfranchisement and economic marginalisation—are also addressed. 

Abstract of the workshop series:

Health and healthcare issues have never been as salient as in the context of the present COVID-19 pandemics. This lecture series addresses the following questions: What are the main challenges facing population health and healthcare policies in the context of the present pandemic in Europe and beyond? How have countries dealt with these challenges? And what are the future prospects of health and healthcare in this pandemic-ridden world?

The aim of this lecture series is to explore these questions from diverse disciplinary perspectives. The lectures will cover topics of health inequalities, vaccinations, mental health, EU's health future and healthy ageing.

The event is organized as a series of lectures with renowned speakers who have worked on the topic of health and healthcare from different angles, with the Max Weber Fellows acting as moderators.


The Zoom Link will be sent only upon registration.


Jonathan Kennedy (Queen Mary University of London)


Katarzyna Doniec (Max Weber Fellow, EUI)

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