Healthy bodies, toxic medicines: college students and the rhetorics of flu vaccination

Heidi Y Lawrence
2014 The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine  
This article examines flu vaccination beliefs and practices produced during a survey of undergraduate students in Spring 2012 (IRB#10-732). This research uses the methods of rhetorical analysis - or the study of persuasive features and arguments used in language - to examine statements respondents made regarding flu and flu vaccine. In these responses, students generated unique categories of arguments about the perceived dangers of flu vaccination, including the assertion that vaccines cause
more » ... ease (including illnesses and conditions other than flu), that vaccines are toxic medicines, and that vaccines carry unknown, population-wide risks that are inadequately acknowledged. This study provides insight into vaccination beliefs and rationales among a population at risk of flu (college students) and suggests that further study of this population may yield important keys to addressing flu vaccine concerns as expressed by college students. Rhetorical analysis also offers a useful set of methods to understanding vaccination beliefs and practices, adding to existing methods of study and analysis of vaccination practices and beliefs in medicine and public health.
pmid:25506277 pmcid:PMC4257030 fatcat:yqtkxls2wzfhxpeycnmrjlj22m