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Andrea Grignolio (Univ. Tours & Sapienza), The social resistance against vaccination: few suggestions from history

31 January 2017 | 14 h 30 min - 15 h 30 min

Andrea Grignolio (Historian of medicine, Sapienza & Université de Tours)

The roots of the 1st international biopharmaceutical production in the Region Centre & the social resistance against vaccination: few suggestions from history


The aim of my talk is twofold. On the one hand, it consists in showing the historical origins of one of the first French serial and international production of biopharmaceuticals (vaccine) established by a biomedical laboratory in Tours. Indeed, Edmond Chaumier (1853-1931) founded in 1887 the Institut Vaccinal of Tours to locally produce from heifer calves a vaccine against smallpox through an original technique known as “vaccin de conserve” (vaccine preserves or canned) consisting in glycerin vaccine stored in refrigerators, which turned out to be more effective, safe and storable —the latter being an important feature during outbreaks— than the “vaccin frais” (fresh vaccine) then available in France. Produced during 1910-1920’s, the Chaumier’s vaccine de conserve conquered the European markets spreading to France, United Kingdom, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe and outside.
On the other hand, the talk aims at offering a historical analysis of the social perception of risk applied to biomedical innovation. The controversy raised by vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (henceforth MMR) provides a useful case for studying individual behavioral responses to new information about risks or new medical technologies. This case study suggests that information processing, rather than access, education and income, is the key driver. Indeed, experimental evidences confirm that more educated (and seldom more affluent) parents were more selective and more often chose not to take vaccine for their child (typically MMR). The history (of medicine) of social resistance of vaccination could be very instructive concerning the reaction by different groups to emerging health risk information under uncertainty. The basic hypothesis of this second part of the research suggests to look at the recent literature of the risk perception in biomedical field (Gerd Gigerenzer, Dan Kahan, Daniel Kahneman)”


31 January 2017
14 h 30 min - 15 h 30 min
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Philosophy & Biology Seminar (Thomas Pradeu)


Bordeaux Pellegrin Hospital, Rheumatology Service, 12th floor
Place Amélie Raba Léon
Bordeaux, 33000 France
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