Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Lia C. Scott


Vaccines are by far the most significant achievement in public health over the last century, saving millions of lives. Vaccination provides immunity as well as protection against certain infectious diseases, and the majority of vaccines contain a weakened version of a disease-causing microorganism. But why do people continue to be skeptical of vaccines and what they can do to improve their health? Vaccines, in general, can evoke strong biological, cultural, social, and political reactions all over the world, not just in the United States.

Vaccine history is extremely complex, and it is still ongoing today as new diseases emerge. The anti-vaccine movement has existed since the development of vaccines by Edward Jenner in 1796. It is critical to understand the past and continue building on what we know today through new vaccine research & technology. Diseases today are far more complex than in the past, but advances in technology have enabled us to combat diseases in ways we could never have imagined. The war on diseases is never-ending and will continue as long as humans exist. But why are people becoming more hesitant to get vaccinated than ever before, or refusing to get vaccinated at all?

Today, the ongoing pandemic and the new COVID-19 vaccine are the main topics on which vaccines are being discussed in major news outlets. Many people have turned to the vaccine to protect themselves from the virus, but many are still skeptical that the vaccine is safe or effective. This has pushed vaccine hesitancy to the forefront of the pandemic, and it has become a hot topic not only in the United States but in countries all over the world.


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