restricted access Modernity and Vaccination: What Stories of Vaccine Injury Tell Us about Vaccines as Things


Narratives about vaccine injury suggest that vaccines must be acknowledged as things rather than objects, that is as entities that gather into them variable meanings rather than static facts supported by stable scientific evidence. Using a Latourian frame, in this commentary I argue that bureaucratic responses to vaccine injury enhance alienation and promote resistance to public health efforts. Assembling vaccine stories and engaging parental experience of injury is one way to reassert the thingness of vaccines in ways that honor the phenomenology of vaccination and vaccine refusal in the U.S. today.