Dr. Heidi Larson: "The nature of the security threat has changed"

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Dr. Heidi Larson, founder of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s Vaccine Confidence Project™ and co-chair of the CSIS-LSHTM High-Level Panel on Vaccine Confidence and Misinformation, joins Katherine for this episode. The national security threats associated with low confidence in vaccines have changed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we’ve seen growing polarization on regarding vaccine mandates, increased aggression towards scientists, the circulation of rumors and disinformation about vaccines on social media, and social instability. Groups that oppose vaccination requirements invoke terms such as “freedom” and “liberty” to emphasize the importance of individual choice when it comes to being vaccinated. But what happens when one person’s freedom harms the larger community? Larson explains that trust in vaccines is tied to trust in government and that a low level of trust in government is one of the greatest obstacles to improving the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines worldwide.

Dr. Heidi Larson is a Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is the author of STUCK: How Vaccine Rumors Start – and Why They Don’t Go Away.
Katherine E. Bliss
Senior Fellow and Director, Immunizations and Health Systems Resilience, Global Health Policy Center
Heidi J. Larson
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Global Health Policy Center