Vaccine Early Adopter Beliefs and Behaviors the Subject of Kari Campeau’s Most Recent Studies

Published: Sept. 8, 2022

Assistant Professor of English Kari Campeau recently published new findings from a study where she interviewed adult participants in phase three clinical trials for a Covid vaccine. The study aimed to understand participants' motivations and experiences related to clinical trial participation, as well as their conceptions of science and the meanings and bounds of their participation. 

The first article, Unofficial vaccine advocates: Technical communication, localization, and care by COVID-19 vaccine trial participants, in Technical Communication Quarterly, reports on findings about how trial participants framed their participation as a way to look out for their personal health and the health of their immediate communities. The second article, in Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, Bridging experience and expertise: A case study of COVID-19 vaccine trial participation and social media vaccine communication, presents a case study on how trial participants were using new forms of participatory vaccine communication.

Campeau previously worked on interview-based and ethnographic research on vaccine hesitancy and refusal but was interested in taking a different approach to understanding people's vaccine decision-making and beliefs. In this study, she focused on vaccine confident people and asked what motivated some people to seek out experimental or early vaccines. She said, “One thing I was surprised to find is that many participants were not only volunteering for vaccine trials but were also actively communicating about their trial participation, the inner workings of clinical trials, and about Covid vaccination to their own networks (through social media posts, conversations, text groups, Reddit channels, and more).”