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Accepted Paper:

Unveiling pharmacovigilance: between epistemic injustice and intersectional marginalities in vaccine’s safety  
Maurizia Mezza (University of Amsterdam) Carolina Gomez (National University of Colombia) Claudia Vaca (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper analyzes events following HPV and Covid-19 immunization, exploring the role of intersectional dynamics and epistemic injustice in pharmacovigilance (PV) evidence and practice, and concluding how anthropology can enhance vaccine safety.

Paper Abstract:

Vaccine pharmacovigilance refers to the science and activities concerned with the detection, assessment, understanding, prevention and communication of events following immunization. It is part of the broader field of pharmacovigilance (PV), which with the neo-liberalization of drug regulation has acquired an increasing role in drugs access and safety. Amongst the range of activities of pharmacovigilance, this paper focuses on the process through which post-vaccination symptoms are identified and categorized as vaccine 'side effects’. Drawing on a 'Patchwork Ethnography' conducted in Colombia, Italy, and the Netherlands from 2019 to 2023, our analysis delves into intersectionality and epistemic injustice in vaccine’s safety. The events that developed in 2014 in El Carmen de Bolivar, a town on the Colombian Atlantic coast, where girls reported mysterious symptoms post HPV vaccination, dismissed as Mass Psychogenic Illness, connects with global experiences following covid-19 vaccines. When in 2022 thousands of people who menstruate(d) reported menstrual irregularities following COVID-19 vaccines, these were initially attributed to pandemic stress. By comparing these cases with responses to other vaccines, we highlight the influence of epistemic injustice and historical bias on pharmacovigilance research, shaping the evidence produced. This paper advocates for a transdisciplinary approach to pharmacovigilance, where anthropological methods and questions enhance global health.

Panel P043
Challenging global health through a socio-anthropological lens [Medical Anthropology Europe (MAE)]
  Session 2 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -