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Accepted Paper:

Vaccination and the crisis: Old age, fear, risk, and responsibility in COVID-19 vaccination  
Lara McKenzie (The University of Western Australia) Chris Blyth (University of Western Australia UWA) Katie Attwell (University of WA) Samantha Carlson (Telethon Kids Institute)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates older people’s emotions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination. Utilising in-depth interviews in Australia, it focuses on how lived realities and conceptions of fear, risk, and responsibility inform affective attitudes to vaccination and ageing in the current crisis.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, we investigate older people’s and aged care workers’ emotions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination. We draw on in-depth interviews from a large project on COVID-19 and vaccination in Perth, Western Australia. The project aims to uncover shared understandings about the COVID-19 crisis and vaccination, examining and informing vaccine roll out. Previous vaccination campaigns have been heavily impacted by public fears about safety (e.g., the H1N1 vaccine rollout in France), and we seek to understand these feelings in the context of the current pandemic.

We analyse interviews with people aged 65 and over as well as workers in the aged care sector. We draw on theories and conceptualisations of risk, responsibility, age, and emotions—including fear—from anthropology, sociology, public health, and political science. A key focus is on people’s lived realities throughout the pandemic, and how these inform feelings about as well as anticipated and actual experiences of vaccination against COVID-19, including for people deemed ‘high risk’ because of their age or work. Of particular interest is how emotions and vaccination views are informed by the large proportion of COVID-19-related infections and deaths in Australian aged care settings. Our study also provides insights into how people conceive of risk and responsibility in terms of both vaccination and the virus, in a context (Western Australia) where there has been little community transmission since the crisis began.

Panel Irre10a
Temporality and (ir)responsibility within crises I
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -