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Immunization Advocates Launches Podcast to Explore Vaccines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

As the news and impacts of COVID-19 saturate our daily lives, health workers, journalists and other community health stakeholders grapple with the implications the pandemic has on immunization and the measures necessary to addressing vaccine acceptance and demand.

Today, Immunization Advocates is launching a new podcast – Community Conversations on Vaccines – to give health workers and journalists in low- and middle-income countries a platform to discuss their first-hand experiences with administering, communicating or reporting on vaccines and how this past year has changed these conversations. Through interviews with close-to-community professionals and a multitude of perspectives, we hope to stimulate conversation on the challenges health workers and journalists face and derive insights for present and future immunization programs, including current COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

During this three-episode pilot season, we invite health workforce and journalism experts from India, Georgia and Guyana to chat about their profession, provide global and regional perspectives on immunization and discuss issues such as the infodemic, social inequity and vaccine hesitancy as it relates to systemic inequality, the absence of vaccine information and the need for patient-health worker communication skills to increase vaccine acceptance and demand. We are honored to be joined by:

Dr. Naveen Thacker (Ep. 1), executive director of the International Pediatric Association based in Gujarat, India. Dr. Thacker considers the global barriers to vaccines and immunization, the challenges of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and his experiences delivering routine childhood immunizations and working on India’s polio eradication program.

Dr. Marina Shikhashvili (Ep. 2), a primary healthcare expert in Tbilisi, Georgia, who draws on more than 30 years of experience as a physician to share how COVID-19 has impacted the health workforce and emphasize the need to improve vaccine communication with patients through skills training that stresses trust and scientific evidence.

Nazima Raghubir (Ep. 3), a freelance journalist and president of the Guyana Press Association based in Georgetown, Guyana, who discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted reporting, the urgency for health workers and public health officials to communicate with journalists effectively and the importance of equitable media coverage and dissemination of information for indigenous persons and migrants.

We hope that, in a time when vaccines are top of mind, this new podcast can play a role in circulating ideas and information and be utilized as a tool for immunization advocates around the world to improve vaccine access, acceptance and demand during the pandemic and beyond.

Episode 1, featuring Dr. Thacker, releases today and is available at or wherever you find your podcasts. Download, listen and share your thoughts on social media to participate in the conversation. Follow and tag Sabin on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.