Aktiviteetti: Tapahtumaan osallistumisen ja tapahtuman järjestämisen tyypit › Konferensseihin, kursseille ja seminaareihin osallistuminen ja näiden järjestäminen
Trust or compulsion? Finnish vaccination practices in the 1950s . Anti-vaccine sentiments have lately become more common, and immunization rates have decreased, also in Finland. The vaccines have become “victims of their own success” when several infections, such as diphtheria and measles have been eradicated. Due to new outbreaks of e.g. measles, vaccination regulations are being tightened in several countries. In Finland, all vaccinations have been voluntary among civilian population since 1952. This paper will examine the beginning of childhood immunization program: legislation, practices and popular attitudes in the 1950s in Finland.
In late 1940s and 1950s access to health services was widened through legislation and building infrastructure. In Finland, maternal and child health was prioritized. Mortality decreased rapidly among children, which was partly caused by the widening immunization program against childhood diseases. In the inter-war period the only immunization regulated by law was mandatory vaccination against smallpox. Despite sanctions the vaccination rates remained low because smallpox had all but vanished from Finland in the 20th century. However, during WWII voluntary immunization campaigns against TB and diphtheria were successfully conducted. In 1952, with the new vaccination act, all immunizations became voluntary. This meant that the immunization rates were largely dependent on the trust of the public towards the health care system, its personnel and new vaccines.
The paper will analyze the arguments of the law proposal, the propaganda used by the experts to promote the incipient immunization program and the popular attitudes towards vaccinations. The research material consists of articles in professional journals and interviews of families conducted in the 1950s. Analysis of the first years of the immunization program in post-war Finland will help to understand, which factors contribute to vaccine acceptance.