Social Selection: Rifts Revealed through Vaccination Prioritization

Rebecca Goodwin


There is an invasion of disease and, in the intensified climate of H1N1, immunization has become our main defense. But this phenomenon is more complex than antibody production; it is an intricate reflection of social divisions. This research explores the socio-cultural divides in vaccination coverage between the new H1N1 threat and the standard childhood diseases like Measles. The hypothesis posits that marginalized groups receive better protection against H1N1 than against the common preventable diseases. A lower quality of living predisposes marginalized groups to chronic diseases, higher pregnancy rates, and households with more young children – all being qualifications for H1N1 prioritization. However, previous research suggests that those who qualify for H1N1 priority are often those who under-immunize, do not complete, or opt out of the standard vaccinations for their children so why receive the non-standard vaccine? If these groups are vaccinating against H1N1, what are the reasons for not receiving the standard series as well, which prevent much deadlier diseases? While this project considers childhood rates of vaccination, it also gauges parental perceptions surrounding immunization and highlights socio-cultural variations between groups. Statistical analysis of data from the Centers of Disease Control and a public survey uncover the general trends of childhood vaccination. In addition, interviews with leading authorities in the state health department and local clinics will posit explanations for such trends. While Idaho has the lowest rate of immunization in the US, this research reveals multiple reasons why the population ignores the standard series and explores the impact of H1N1 on those views.


Vaccination, cultural values, social divisions

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