Vaccination is a hot-button topic from all angles these days. When discussing, culture can become involved in a variety of ways:
The History of Vaccines website includes information about various cultures and the history of vaccination/innoculation. There is a rich section of activities students could use to understand vaccination.
Vaccine compliance worldwide varies, with many countries (like the United Kingdom and the United States) seeing a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases as parents choose not to vaccinate.
Developing countries have issues with a lack of vaccines or insufficient support to store and give vaccinations.
India is a good case to examine for this. Polio has been declared eradicated in India, but there were many hurdles to overcome over two decades. Notably, refrigeration for the oral vaccine was one of the large challenges.
India beats the odds, beats polio by Moni Basu (CNN)
From UNICEF, a video and information about how India has eradicated polio.
A good article from the BBC, How India managed to defeat polio, by
Patralekha Chatterjee, touches on many changes India needed to make in sanitation to help vaccination be successful.
Decisions about healthcare vary from culture to culture.
For example, Vietnamese patients often seek holistic care first or work to combine holistic and Western medicine. This fact sheet from the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) (PDF) explains how practitioners can successfully interact with and treat their Vietnamese patients despite the cultural gap.
Another fact sheet from the UWMC (PDF) concerns Somali culture and caretakers. In Somali culture, and men and women do not typically touch. Caretakers should ask permission to touch patients of either gender prior to doing so. This website on Minnesota-Somali health care issues (Stratis Health Cultural Connections) explains some of the cultural differences between Somalis and Americans in regards to health care in more detail.
For more cultures, check out Culture Care Connection, which discusses views on medical care for different cultures in order to provide better overall care.
Some religious groups chose not to partake in blood transfusions, such as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Jehovah's Witness blood transfusions: how a doctor works around doctrine by Chavi Eve Karkowsky (Slate)