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Journal Articles Journal of Contemporary History Year : 2022

The Cost of Trust: The World Health Organization and Vaccination's Contested Economization in France

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1
Gaëtan Thomas

Abstract

This article explores the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) within the tumultuous history of the hepatitis B vaccine in France, including a controversy that erupted in 1996 and lasted several years. When the first hepatitis B vaccine was commercialized in France in 1981, it inaugurated a new era in the industry characterized by high prices, an unprecedented number of patents and aggressive commercial competition. By inscribing the hepatitis B vaccine controversy into a broader, global history of the economization of immunization – in which the WHO played a central role – this article reframes the causes and implications of a controversy that both actors and scholars have approached through a primarily national lens. The challenge posed to the economic approach to immunization prepared the ground for subsequent critiques of vaccines as commodities. The article discusses a key transformation in the recent transatlantic history of public health by focusing on the perceived association of immunization with a contested economic order.
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Dates and versions

hal-03700735 , version 1 (18-01-2023)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives - CC BY 4.0

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Gaëtan Thomas. The Cost of Trust: The World Health Organization and Vaccination's Contested Economization in France. Journal of Contemporary History, 2022, 57 (4), pp.939-958. ⟨10.1177/00220094211057833⟩. ⟨hal-03700735⟩
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