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Politics and trust in Ebola vaccine trials: The case of Ghana

  • John K. Aggrey (a1) and Wesley Shrum (a1)


Vaccine trials for infectious diseases take place in a milieu of trust in which scientists, regulatory institutions, and volunteers trust each other to play traditional roles. This milieu of trust emerges from a combination of preexisting linkages embedded in the local and national political context. Using the case of failed vaccine trials in Hohoe, Ghana, we explore this milieu of trust by employing the concept of tandems of trust and control, with a particular focus on the perceived characteristics of the disease and the linkages formed. An analysis of qualitative interviews collected in Hohoe following the West Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014–2016 shows that the trust/control nexus in vaccine trials precedes the implementation of those trials, while both the characteristics of Ebola and the political context shaped the formation and breakdown of relationships in the trial network.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Wesley Shrum, Department of Sociology, Louisiana State University, 126 Stubbs Hall, Baton Rouge, LA, USA. Email:


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Politics and trust in Ebola vaccine trials: The case of Ghana

  • John K. Aggrey (a1) and Wesley Shrum (a1)


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