Kaisu Koski

Vaccine Hesitancy


Output: Other

The research ‘Vaccine Hesitancy’ explores the health beliefs of vaccine critical parents, and medical students’ responses to these. The inquiry reveals several underlying beliefs that influence the parents’ decision-making in either selecting, delaying or refusing vaccines for their children. Decisions relate to their understanding of the immune system and importance of illness in a child’s development, as well as their definitions of ‘natural’. The body of work includes the installation ‘Injection Simulator’, film ‘Conversations with Vaccine Critical Parents’, print series ‘Theory of Illness #1-4’, photographic series ‘Syringe Sequence #1-2’, and six articles in science, art and medical education journals.

Koski conducted and audio-recorded nine ethnographic interviews with vaccine-hesitant parents at their homes in the Netherlands and Finland. The parents were also invited to donate anonymous home video footage of their children for inclusion in a film. Koski subsequently analysed the interviews and visualized the parents’ most dominant health beliefs in diagrammatic prints. By utilizing these prints, the parents’ health beliefs were discussed with vaccine researcher Johan Holst from Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Conversations with Holst were recorded and integrated into a film to stimulate polyphony instead of promoting a single viewpoint, and to illustrate the distances between the parents and the voice of science.

The output was launched by exhibiting ‘Injection Simulator’ in a solo show at Art Centre Mältinranta in 2015, and pilot-testing the film in medical education at the University of Tampere in 2016. The film was also screened at several epidemiology trainings including organizations such as the Swedish Public Health Agency and NHS Scotland. The group exhibition of ‘Immune Nations’ was exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva during the 2017 World Health Assembly. Koski has single- and first-authored six peer-reviewed journal articles about the Vaccine Hesitancy project between 2017-2020 (four included as output).

Research Output


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Research Method

The research originated in the framework of Koski’s five-year ‘Academy Research Fellow” project, funded by the Academy of Finland, which was set out to develop new kinds of cinematic representations of the patient and doctor in medical education, challenging the existing patient and physician stereotypes.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

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Other Projects By

Kaisu Koski