AstraZeneca vaccine controversies in the media: Theorizing about the mediatization of ignorance in the context of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign

Health Communication 38 (2023)
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As is the case in other situations of deep uncertainty, the unknowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic have aroused a great deal of attention in the media. Drawing insights both from mediatization theory and ignorance studies, we discuss the coverage of the AstraZeneca vaccine controversies to develop a new concept that we call the mediatization of ignorance. In doing so, we conceptualize the procedure through which unknowns become mediatized as a three-step process that results from a combination of logics from the areas of politics, health, and science/industry. Moreover, we argue that the mediatization of ignorance may have promoted vaccine hesitancy at a moment when vaccination was crucial for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude by suggesting the need to explore in further detail the role that ignorance plays not only in the management of the COVID-19 crisis but also in different areas of society.

Author Profiles

A. J. Sendra
Illinois State University
Jaana Parviainen
Tampere University


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