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Vol 11 No 1: The Immune System, Immunity and Immune Logics

Anticipating Immunity: Vaccine-induced Immunity and Vaccine Safety in the Finnish News Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines

June 26, 2022
March 15, 2024


In this article I draw on the concept of anticipation to examine Finnish news discourse on the development, licensing and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. I explore the interplay of anticipation of vaccine-induced immunity and vaccine safety concerns, and trace how ideas of protection and risk were invoked in relation to specific vaccine technologies as well as different accounts of biomedical pasts, including cases of narcolepsy associated with one of the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines. I demonstrate that anticipation around vaccine development during a public health emergency operates through a series of small shifts and twists that magnify affects around novel vaccines in news media discourse. I argue that even a slight shift in the biomedical knowledge about immunity or in the historical framing of specific vaccine technologies may significantly reshape vaccine-induced immunity as an object of anticipation.