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When the vaccinators won’t get vaccinated: vaccine hesitancy, (mis)information and healthcare workers

Article collection guest advisors for Medical Education Online:

Prof. Samantha Vanderslott, Associate Professor in Vaccines and Society, University of Oxford, UK

Dr. Sam Martin, Research Fellow in Digital Sociology, UCL, UK

Dr. Sally Frampton, Humanities and Healthcare Fellow, University of Oxford, UK

Prof. Patricia Kingori, Professor in Sociology and Global Health Ethics, University of Oxford, UK

The consumption and distribution of misinformation has an established link with vaccine hesitancy. However, little is known about the ways in which healthcare workers (HCWs), such as frontline nurses and doctors contribute to the sharing of and support for misinformation in relation to vaccines. Research by the Wellcome Global Monitor survey reveals that frontline HCWs are regarded as the “most trusted sources” of information about vaccines. Given the trust that the public has in HCWs and their role in vaccination campaigns, it is crucial that both health officials and policymakers understand the potential influence and impact that their perspectives might have on public health.

This proposed call for papers seeks to garner accounts from diverse subject backgrounds and different contexts nationally and internationally to come together to strengthen our understanding of the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy from the particular HCWs perspective. Vaccine hesitancy is wide-ranging and heterogeneous phenomenon, varying by contexts, locations, and source of information, that many have argued has proliferated through online and social media misinformation (Larson 2018).

We seek to will draw upon a range of academic disciplines, including sociology, ethics, psychology, communications, and history, and include different research methods. The overarching aim of this special issue is to provide relevant analysis that will strengthen both medical research and public health policy, with the expectation that this should be of use to addressing misinformation and vaccine hesitancy amongst HCWs.

With this special issue we invite researchers to reflect on:

  • The historical and policy developments which may have influenced HCW vaccine hesitancy
  • What is considered a trusted source of information pertaining to vaccination among HCWs
  • The social and ethical tensions created by attitudes toward different sources of information about vaccines
  • The demographic characteristics (e.g. gender and race) and role (e.g. nurses/midwives/doctors etc.) of HCWs and their relationship with misinformation
  • How social media influences the types (and key features) of misinformation that are received, trusted, and distributed by HCWs.

Abstract deadline: 13 October 2023

Email abstracts to Dr Sam Martin (corresponding guest editor): 

Manuscript deadline: 30 April 2024

Submit here (select ‘Special Issue: When the vaccinators won’t get vaccinated’ under Manuscript Details).