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Monthly Roundup: New Data on Global Immunization, Program Launches in Brazil, Connecting with Journalists in Uganda

Statement by Sabin Vice President Stacey Knobler on Alarming New WHO/UNICEF Data on Global Immunization Coverage

New data released by WHO and UNICEF revealed that at least 25 million infants and young children missed essential and life-saving vaccines in 2021 — the largest continued decrease in routine childhood immunization rates in three decades. Stacey Knobler, Sabin released a statement from Vaccine Innovation & Global Immunization Vice President Stacey Knobler, regarding the alarming data and the urgent need to listen to and work with immunization professionals, health workers and journalists in order to reach the global target of 90% immunization coverage of essential vaccines and reduce the number of unvaccinated children by half by 2030. Read the full statement here.

InfoVacina Trainee, a program to enhance reporting on immunization and vaccines for early-career journalists, launches in Brazil

Sabin’s partner Agência Bori has launched InfoVacina Trainee, a new competitive training and mentorship program, which aims to sharpen the science reporting skills of 15 early-career journalists from throughout Brazil. The program will focus on early-career journalists and last-year college journalism students and provide them with guidance on producing reliable and science-based stories. Six media professionals who are experts in science and health coverage will be the mentors of InfoVacina Trainee participants. InfoVacina Trainee is supported by Sabin’s Immunization Advocates program and Serrapilheira Institute, based in Brazil. Read more.

Connecting Researchers and Journalists in Uganda

On June 27, Sabin Vaccine Acceptance & Demand Research Director Dr. Kate Hopkins was joined by Senior Research Officer at the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) Celia Nalwadda in hosting a luncheon with 8 journalists with the Health Journalists Network in Uganda, based in Kampala. The topic was why deepening understanding of vaccine acceptance and demand drivers through local, connected social and behavioral research is essential to drive sustained high acceptance and demand of routine immunizations and COVID-19 vaccines – enhancing impact on communities. 

The event helped Sabin engage with key Uganda media professionals covering immunization and vaccines. Several stories were broadcast and published in top-tier Uganda outlets, including Radio 1 (newscast and newsbreaks in Kampala’s most popular radio station), See TV (featured on the nightly newscast; also available via the news portal and in Lusoga), and SundayVision daily.

In partnership with UNICEF, The Public Good Projects, Monash University, Irimi Company, Goodbeast and local stakeholders including Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Nairobi, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and AMREF Health in Kenya, Sabin is working to co-design and pilot Vaccine Edition, for East Africa. Borrowing from the theory of psychological inoculation, the mobile and cartoon-based game application teaches users the critical thinking skills required to both combat and increase resilience to vaccine-related misinformation they may encounter in the ‘real world’. The Cranky Uncle team spent three weeks with health workers, parents/caregivers, youths, and medical students in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda for user-testing and co-design workshops of the new regionalized game.

World Refugee Day Q & A with Silas Ayako

Sabin Associate Meredith Dockery spoke with Silas Ayako, Project Clinical Officer, Protection of Refugees and Asylum Seekers at Kenya Red Cross, for World Refugee Day. During VARN2022, Silas presented his research about COVID-19 vaccination uptake among refugees in Turkana County, Kenya. In the interview, Ayako speaks about misinformation, COVID-19 vaccination acceptance amongst refugees, and his work in helping to protect the health and wellness of refugees and asylum seekers. Watch the full interview here.

News coverage supported by Immunization Advocates

Two stories by a participant of the mentorship program in Eastern Europe, led by Internews – with support from Immunization Advocates – were published by Novosti’s NewsMaker in Russia/Belarus and Roumania about the impact of opponents of vaccination in generating misinformation about immunization.