Child Immunisation: reactions and responses to New Zealand government policy 1920-1990

by Day, Alison Suzanne

Abstract (Summary)
My thesis has explored the history of child immunisation in New Zealand from a socio-medical perspective. The framework has been hinged around the actions and immunisation strategies of the Health Department over the period 1920 to 1990 and the responses of parents to those actions and strategies. One of the most important concepts considered was how the Health Department decided on and then implemented immunisation policy during the period. Health professionals played a significant role in the delivery of immunisation to children and have impacted on a number of policy changes. After World War Two, with an increase in the number of vaccines on offer, the specialised expertise of the World Health Organization and the Epidemiology Advisory Committee in policy determination became very influential. The responses to departmental immunisation policies by parents demonstrated a significant change during the period, although most apparent in the 1980s. From a situation of wariness (and perhaps indifference) in the 1920s and 1930s to almost total vaccine acceptance from the 1950s, the 1980s were, by contrast, illustrative of parental assertiveness especially concerning side-effects. The advent of feminism in the 1970s and the issues of informed consent in the mid-1980s assisted in raising levels of parental awareness in immunisation which continued into the 1990s. Ethnic and socio-economic background also contributed to different levels of acceptance of immunisation, which will be addressed. Opposition to immunisation tended to wax and wane during this period. Two groups were dominant, although at opposite ends of the time spectrum. Both were small but vocal in their views. Nevertheless, neither group made much impression on New Zealand parents, although they were both an irritant to the Health Department. Overseas experiences in immunisation were interwoven throughout my thesis to set the New Zealand events in an international context. The introduction of a particular vaccine was compared and contrasted with similar schemes elsewhere to give an appreciable understanding of New Zealand’s position. Vaccine controversies overseas were also examined to determine their influence in New Zealand. Immunisation policy has been shaped by a myriad of factors and influences from both inside and outside the country. There were extensive changes over the years in the way parents, health professionals and the Health Department perceived immunisation which will be examined in my thesis.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Associate Professor Linda Bryder; Judith Bassett

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:immunisation history fields of research 430000 and archaeology


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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