COVID-19 Non-Vaccination Among the People of Hong Kong: Resistance to Biomedical Hegemony As a Barrier

Judy Siu, Anita C H Koo

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


    COVID-19 has been declared as public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO and health authorities worldwide have encouraged people to receive COVID-19 vaccination. As of 27th September 2022, although 94.1% of the population in Hong Kong has received one dose of vaccination, 91.8% has received the second dose, and 77.8% of the population has finished the third dose, the vaccination rate increased only when the Vaccine Pass policy has implemented since 24 February 2022, in which people would be refused to enter certain public premises if they have not finished the vaccination according to the government’s dosage schedule.

    Almost 6% of the Hong Kong population remains unvaccinated. This study was therefore conducted to investigate about their reasons and experiences of not getting vaccinated. Thirty informants who did not get vaccinated, aged 21 to 64, were sampled for the semi-structured interviews.

    The informants were disadvantaged in many aspects of social life following their non-vaccination. Feeling confusion with the biomedical advice on COVID-19 and distrust in biomedicine were the two main interlocking factors for these informants not to get vaccinated. The informants had an impression that the biomedical professionals have always changed the standpoints in the standard of vaccination and infection control measures, making them to feel that the vaccination advice is not a pure medical suggestion. This undermines the informants’ trust in biomedicine, and thus its advice on vaccination. Traditionally, biomedicine obtains hegemonic power in most societies, though such situation has been changed as indicated from our study. This phenomenon agrees with Giddens, noting that the decline in tradition increases reflexivity for individuals in contemporary societies, configures a new stage of enlightenment that demands new knowledge and autonomy. The doubts and hesitations revolving vaccination therefore stem from the process of reconstructing values and knowledge in post-traditional societies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023
    EventXX ISA World Congress of Sociology - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 25 Jun 20231 Jul 2023 (Conference website) (Conference programme)


    ConferenceXX ISA World Congress of Sociology
    Internet address


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