"I'm provax": Provaccination personal histories and socialities of older Australians in the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vaccination scholarship often explores how social networks foster vaccine refusal and delay, revealing how social and institutional relations produce refusing or delaying parents and un- or under-vaccinated children. It is likewise critical to understand the development of pro-vaccination orientations by researching those who want to be vaccinated since such attitudes and associated practices underpin successful vaccination programmes. This article explores pro-vaccination sociality, personal histories and self-understandings during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. We draw upon 18 in-depth interviews with older Western Australians, documenting how they articulate ‘provax’ identities in opposition to those they depict as ‘antivax’ others. Provax identities were clearly anchored in and solidified through social relations and personal histories, as interviewees spoke of ‘likeminded’ friends and families who facilitated each other’s vaccinations and referenced childhood experiences of epidemics and vaccinations. Access barriers relating to the vaccine programme drove interviewees to reimagine their provax status in light of not yet being vaccinated. Thus, interviewees’ moral and ideological understandings of themselves and others were interrelated with supply-side constraints. We examine the development of self-proclaimed ‘provaxxers’ (in a context of limited access); how they imagine and enact boundaries between themselves and those they deem ‘antivax’; and possibilities for public health research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1441-1461
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Health & Illness
Issue number7
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2023


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