Article ID: CBB605278051

“Imagine the Perfect Vaccine”: Homeopathic Vaccine Alternatives and Vaccine Discourse in English Canada (2021)


Advocates of homeopathic vaccines, also known as nosodes, reimagined the risks and benefits of vaccination from 1999 to 2015 by comparing “risky” vaccines to “risk-free” nosodes. I argue that nosodes allowed for a complementary argument to anti-vaccine discourse, fundamentally altering what had been framed as a choice between the risks of vaccination and the risks of vaccine-preventable disease. Despite evidence of their efficacy being flawed, advocates presented nosodes as an alternative to vaccines and a middle ground between anti-vaccination and vaccination. While a campaign from 2013 to 2015 tried to expose nosodes as ineffective, I argue that the campaign was unsuccessful. Instead, the mainstream media brought more attention to nosodes. The history of nosodes further complicates the history of vaccines and alternative medicine in Canada by adding vaccine alternatives to the growing literature on vaccine hesitancy.

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Authors & Contributors
Stahnisch, Frank W.
Kitta, Andrea
Bocking, Stephen A.
Berezow, Alex B.
Campbell, Hank
Conis, Elena
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadien d'Histoire de la Medecine
Public Understanding of Science
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Science Communication
Medical History
Johns Hopkins University Press
Franco Angeli
MIT Press
Medicine and society
Public health
Public understanding of medicine
Vaccines; vaccination
Prevention and control of disease
Controversies and disputes
Wakefield, Andrew
United States
Great Britain
Tanzania (Tanganyika, Zanzibar)
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
18th century

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