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Expert seminar organised by the Paul Scholten Center for Jurisprudence and the UVA Institute for Advanced Study (IAS)

Event details of Fighting the merchants of fear
Date 14 February 2019
Time 11:00 -17:00

In November 2018, the Dutch Secretary of State Paul Blokhuis (Ministry of Health) presented his letter to Parliament addressing vaccine hesitancy. The letter presented six courses of action to counteract the slow but steady decline in willingness of parents to vaccinate their children. One of courses of action aims to combat the misinformation about vaccinations: "I see that there are people who very actively spread misconceptions about vaccinations, either via Internet or in conversations with parents. This can lead to insecurity or lack of clarity among parents and to unnecessary health damage in children. I think this is an undesirable situation and that is why I will seek to combat this trend.”

This expert seminar will be conducted in the Dutch language and is only by invitation. For more information, please contact Roland Pierik via

This expert seminar focuses on the following questions:

  • What exactly is that misinformation about vaccination?
  • To what extent do vaccination critics view their beliefs as misconceptions? Is it not the case that, from their perspective, vaccine-denialism is the correct view?
  • How can we understand the clash between the more mainstream scientific views
  • and alternative scientific- and world views?
  • How can these misconceptions be combated? And what is the role of the government here?

In this expert seminar we seek to sketch a picture of the current vaccination hesitance, based on  contributions from different scientific perspectives (history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy) and from practice (RIVM & Ministry of Health).

For more information please contact Roland Pierik (