Vaccination policy: Understanding political processes
How do political measures reach maturity? Who are the players? What are the circumstances determining whether new strategies are introduced or not? How are decisions made at political level translated into practice? Using the example of health-policy measures, the political scientist Katharina T. Paul provides an insight into socio-political processes by concentrating on these and similar questions. Returning from Rotterdam to Vienna with a Lise-Meitner Fellowship from the FWF, Paul investigated the introduction of HPV vaccination as a measure for cancer prevention. The results have been published in the "Social Science & Medicine" journal.
A controversial issue
2006 and 2007 saw the first approval worldwide of vaccines designed to immunise women and girls in particular against certain strains of the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), including strains that lead to cervical cancer. "This medical innovation was not greeted with global enthusiasm", comments project director Paul from the University of Vienna. Quite the contrary, the concept suggested by experts to protect children against sexually transmitted and carcinogenic viruses turned into a highly controversial political issue that had an impact on vaccination policy and existing cervical-cancer prevention programmes.
The path from hazard to innovation
Katharina Paul talked to stakeholders from medicine, politics, industry, civil society and government agencies to chronicle the controversial discussions that took place in Austria and identify the main players. She then compared the process in Austria to the introduction of the HPV vaccine in the Netherlands, where the vaccine had already been implemented on a national scale in 2008, after initial reservations had been overcome. While swift in other European countries, implementation took several years in Austria. Finally, the HPV vaccine was incorporated in the national immunisation programme for children in 2013 making Austria a "European frontrunner". Unlike the Netherlands, where only girls (from the age of 13) receive the vaccine free of charge, both girls and boys from the age of 9 are immunised in Austria.
The criteria of success
The introduction of a medical technology is never easy, notes Katharina Paul, who is interested above all in preventive practices and in the marked differences from country to country in this respect. In the case under discussion, the researcher demonstrated how the decision-makers of the Austrian healthcare system, which is organised along federal lines, refined concepts, economic arguments and vaccination infrastructure in a way that was designed to achieve public acceptance for the HPV vaccine. "Three things were important in the process", explains Paul. First of all, policy-makers succeeded in de-sexualising the topic by specifying the vaccine was to be administered to both girls and boys before they reached adolescence, thus transforming it from a gynaecological product to a vaccine for children. Secondly, incorporating it in the national immunisation programme for children made it easier to sidestep discussions with the parents. Thirdly, the vaccine was reduced from three to two doses so it could be completed within a single school year.
Culture and evidence
The decision about implementation or non-implementation of a national immunisation programme is the result of many discussions, held partly at informal level and not always very transparent, as Paul's research has shown. Many factors determine whether progress in medicine, such as the HPV vaccine, is considered a promising innovation or a socially undesirable technology. "What constitutes common healthcare practice and what is considered self-evident in medicine is strongly influenced by social discourse, not only by scientific evidence", says Paul and quotes the example of the Netherlands, where a PAP test every five years is recommended for all women aged 30 and over.
The fact that Papilloma viruses can also trigger other types of cancer, such as anal cancer, has not been a subject of debate at all in Austria, notes Paul. While the standard practice of screening for cervical cancer by means of PAP tests, viewed critically by some, was discussed again within the context of the new preventive measure, no result emerged. "Originally, improvements had been planned, but nothing much happened." Overall, Paul would like to see more data collected on vaccination behaviour in general and would favour a central vaccination register. "When it comes to vaccination there are not only pros and cons, but also many uncertainties", comments the researcher, who is convinced that the social sciences could make an important contribution in this respect.
FWF Austrian Science Fund
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central funding organization for basic research.
The purpose of the FWF is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. In this way, the FWF makes a significant contribution to cultural development, to the advancement of our knowledge-based society, and thus to the creation of value and wealth in Austria.
Dr. Katharina T. Paul
Department of Political Science
University of Vienna
1010 Vienna, Austria
T +43 /1 / 4277 - 47738
Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Haus der Forschung
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8111
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
This release was published on openPR.
Permanent link to this press release:
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.
You can edit or delete your press release Vaccination policy: Understanding political processes here
News-ID: 327758 • Views: 573
More Releases from FWF - Austrian Science Fund
While fear and aggression tend to curb our appetite, sadness and frustration seem to stimulate it. A project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF looks into the connections between mood and overeating in healthy and bulimic individuals. We know how it feels to look forward to our favourite dish; we are familiar with the notions of comfort food and feeling butterflies in the stomach instead of hunger. In eating
Neurosciences: a stress test for men and women
Whilst it is true that women and men respond differently to stress, current neuroscientific research only partially confirms traditional gender stereotypes. Other factors heavily contribute to the stress response such as self-esteem, hormones and stress regulation, as has been demonstrated by a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. How people react to stress is subjective. Gender also plays a fundamental role. Scientific studies have shown that the stress
Researching the grammar of sign language
Like spoken language, sign language has a complex and differentiated structure. One just has to be able to discern and interpret it. With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a research team from Klagenfurt is working on the elements of a grammar of sign language. It is language that distinguishes Homo sapiens from animals. A complex system in which smaller units combine into larger units, into sentences, into statements.
Using mathematics to hunt for computer errors
Improving the security of computer software and hardware requires mathematical analytic methods. Thanks to research by a team of computer scientists led by Krishnendu Chatterjee in a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, these methods will work significantly faster in the future. Security gap in application discovered, update urgently recommended. Alerts like that can confront us every week. Often, a comprehensive update that addresses teething troubles is already
More Releases for Austria
Austria Agriculture Market | Austria Agriculture Industry | Austria Agriculture …
The share of Austria agriculture within the Austrian economy declined steady afterward World War II, agriculture continues to represent a very important part of the economy attributable to its social and political significance. The Chamber of Agriculture rests on an equal level with the chambers of commerce and labour, though its members manufactures solely a fraction of the GDP that industrial and sale able labours produce. Though little, the agricultural sector is
Agrochemicals Market in Austria
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021) to its growing collection of premium market research reports. The report “Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021)” provides market intelligence on the different market segments, based on type, active ingredient, formulation, crop, and pest. Market size and forecast (2016-2021) has been provided in terms of both, value (000 USD) and volume (000 KG) in the report. A
Nazi psychology in Austria
The history of academic psychology after the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, and its role as a discipline used in National Socialist policies is being examined systematically for the first time in a research project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. "It is a sad fact”, says psychologist Gerhard Benetka from the Sigmund Freud University Vienna "that applied psychology flourished during the National Socialist era
ESCHA Bauelemente GmbH extends position in Austria
Halver, 8 August 2012 – In the course of its globalizing strategy, the German connector- and housing specialist ESCHA starts up direct sales abroad for the first time: On 1 July 2012 the company welcomed Andreas Mader as its first Field Salesman in Austria. Operating from the capital Vienna, Mr. Mader will support existing customers as well as extend the business operations. Simultaniously ESCHA will continue to market its products
Creative Austria meets creative Russia
Euroforum: communicatin ready for the next lap Vienna. On 22nd of October 2009 the advertising association Vienna invites again to the annual Euroforum: communication event, platform for European communication, guaranteeing an interesting mix of “connecting businesses and communications”. The Event takes place in Studio 44, Vienna. Focus point Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sotschi) The main goal of the Euroforum is to promote and establish business relations and synergies between
Archaeological Sensation in Austria
Scientists from the University of Vienna unearth the earliest evidence of Jewish inhabitants in Austria Archaeologists from the Institute of Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child's grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn. The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of