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Vaccine reluctance and refusal are no longer limited to the margins of society. Debates around vaccines' necessity -- along with questions around their side effects -- have gone mainstream, blending with geopolitical conflicts, political campaigns, celebrity causes, and "natural" lifestyles to win a growing number of hearts and minds. Today's anti-vaccine positions find audiences where they've never existed previously.


Stuck examines how the issues surrounding vaccine hesitancy are, more than anything, about people feeling left out of the conversation. A new dialogue is long overdue, one that addresses the many types of vaccine hesitancy and the social factors that perpetuate them. To do this, Stuck provides a clear-eyed examination of the social vectors that transmit vaccine rumours, their manifestations around the globe, and how these individual threads are all connected.


About this event

Join author Prof. Heidi J. Larson, our host Prof. Angharad Davies and an expert panel to discuss the key themes and ideas explored in Heidi's book, Stuck: How Vaccine Rumours Start – and Why They Don't Go Away. This event will take place via Zoom webinar and will be recorded. A video will be available on our YouTube channel and on the RCPath Book Club webpage after the event. 

How to get involved 

About the author

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Professor Heidi J. Larson is the Founding Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project and Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Clinical Professor, Dept of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle; and Guest Professor at the University of Antwerp and at KULeuven, Belgium. Her current research is particular focused on issues around public cooperation during emergencies – disease outbreak, natural disasters, terrorism and conflict.


She is author of Stuck: How Vaccine Rumours Start – and Why they Don't Go Away (Oxford University Press, 2020) and has published widely on the drivers and enablers of vaccine confidence. In 2021, she was awarded the Edinburgh Medal and BBC named Prof. Larson as one of the 100 most influential women in the world in 2021.



About the host and panellists

Angharad Davies

Professor Angharad Davies - host

Professor Angharad Davies is a clinical academic and honorary consultant medical microbiologist at Swansea University Medical School, and Vice-President for Learning of the Royal College of Pathologists. Angharad qualified in medicine from the University of Cambridge and after gaining MRCP undertook her specialist training in medical microbiology and virology at the Royal Free Hospital, London. She undertook an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship at University College London, gaining a PhD in aspects of dormancy in tuberculosis.

Angharad has a particular interest in education and training in antimicrobial resistance and stewardship. She leads the education and training workstream of the Wales Antimicrobial Resistance Delivery Board, and founded and leads the All Wales Antimicrobial Resistance Educators project. She is Infection Specialty Lead for Health and Care Research Wales. 


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Professor Will Irving

Professor Will Irving has been Professor and Honorary Consultant in Virology at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust since 2002. He currently chairs the National Strategy Group for Viral Hepatitis, having previously chaired the Department of Health Advisory Group on Hepatitis (AGH). He is a member of the Advisory Committee Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) which advises UK ministers and health departments on the most appropriate ways to ensure the safety of blood, cells, tissues and organs for transfusion/transplantation, and is currently chairing a SaBTO working group on transmission of hepatitis B virus from donors with occult infection.

His research interest is in the natural history of hepatitis C virus infection. He is a keen bridge player, and has a ridiculous passion for the fortunes of Leeds United.


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Professor Will Jennings

Will Jennings is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Associated Dean for Research and Enterprise in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Southampton. He previously held Research Fellowships at the London School of Economics and Political Science and at the University of Manchester. His research is primarily concerned with the study of political behaviour and public policy. Will has written extensively on agenda-setting, public opinion, electoral behaviour, risk governance and policy disasters. He is Principal Investigator on the ESRC-funded TrustGov project which investigates worldwide patterns of trust and trustworthiness of national and global governance. During the Covid-19 pandemic he and his team conducted a cross-national programme of surveys and focus groups exploring public responses to the crisis, such as trust in government handling of the pandemic and the role of trust and conspiracy beliefs in vaccine hesitancy. He recently completed a project funded by the British Academy on trust in information sources and willingness to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Relevant to this book club, he has recently written articles on trust, social media and vaccine hesitancy [1], [2].



Helen Donovan

Helen has a special interest and expertise in vaccination and immunisation her career has spanned across general nursing, midwifery, practice nursing, health visiting and specialist health protection including working for Local Authority teams. She is the Professional Lead for public health nursing at the Royal College of Nursing supporting and promoting the importance of public health across nursing and midwifery. She also holds an honorary senior lecturer position at the University of Hertfordshire and works as an independent consultant and trainer in immunisation. Helen is also the Chair of the Self-Care forum a national charity working across health and wider organisations to further the reach of self-care and embed it into everyday life.

Twitter: @HelenDon_RCN


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Suze Kundu

Suze is a nanochemist, literally and professionally. From an early age, Suze was breaking things apart to find out how they worked - whether that was her Dad’s turntable needle, her Mum’s face creams, or her long-suffering Barbie dolls. Luckily for the great British public, Suze decided not to channel her curiosity into a career in medicine, instead choosing to focus on chemistry, to try and find the answers to all of her often quite literally burning questions.

Suze is now the Head of Public Engagement at the technology company Digital Science, where she continues to research interesting topics within chemistry and materials science, but also the wider research landscape. She is a cheerleader for greater diversity in science, and is also an experienced science communicator, delivering live shows and demo lectures, as a science presenter on the Discovery Channel, and as a science writer for Forbes.


  • 17:00 - 23/06/2022 to 18:00 - 23/06/2022