Friday 17 May 2019


Vaccines, politics and big business: the rise in medical populism

Heidi Larson

Vaccines are amongst the most important tools used to treat and limit infectious diseases. Yet, trust in vaccines has plummeted of late, resulting in highly damaging disease outbreaks across the globe (from the Philippines to Italy, Texas to China). Why is this the case and what can be done about it?

Heidi Larson’s research focuses on the social and political factors that can affect vaccine uptake. She is the Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project which has developed multiple metrics to measure population confidence in vaccines. The research also tracks the ecology of rumours and transnational influences on public trust in vaccines.

Heidi Larson, PhD

Heidi is an anthropologist and the Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where she is a Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science.

She was previously a Research Fellow at Harvard University Centre for Population and Development and a former Associate at the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House.

The Vaccine Confidence Project has been named a WHO Centre of Excellence on addressing vaccine hesitancy.