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Monthly Roundup: Reflecting on World Immunization Week, Community Conversations on Vaccines, Looking to Global Health Leaders in Upcoming Events

Sabin CEO Amy Finan calls attention to the urgent need “to restore and maintain high rates of routine immunization against all vaccine-preventable diseases” 

Amy Finan’s insight looking back and forward on World Immunization Week into how we can build on successes and learn lessons to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and reverse worrying declines in routine immunization. Read here.


Immunization Advocates blog urges community-based solutions to reverse routine immunization backslide

In response to World Immunization Week 2022 and Sabin Vaccine Institute’s CEO Amy Finan’s call to restore and maintain routine immunization rates, Sabin Associate Francesca Montalto published a blog advocating for community-centered and inclusive approaches, including prioritization of health workers delivering primary care, to address the recent backslide in routine immunization rates. 

As other major global gatherings, including the Global COVID-19 Summit and World Health Assembly, soon commence, policymakers and global health program leaders must take action to enact systemic change. Read more here and share on social media.

Dr. Ashmita Gupta and Dr. Salvia Zeeshan discuss social determinants of health, vaccine misinformation and vaccine acceptance and demand

Project principal investigators Dr. Ashmita Gupta, PhD, and Dr. Salvia Zeeshan, MD, MPH, and their team working in Bihar and Jharkhand, India, spoke with Sabin associate Meredith on how to promote vaccine equity, improve immunization rates for children and reduce incidence of communicable diseases that are preventable by vaccines. This multidisciplinary team is part of the 2021-2022 Sabin Social and Behavioral Research Grant Program cohort investigating how the spread of false information on social media, demographic and socio-economic factors, and existing equity issues impact COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and demand. Read more here.

New season of Community Conversations on Vaccines podcast features social and behavioral research from Pakistan and Kenya

All episodes of Season 3 of our podcast, Community Conversations on Vaccines, are now available wherever you find your podcasts. The podcast seeks to derive insights from health workers, journalists, researchers and advocates working on immunization close to communities in low- and middle-income countries. 

In Episode 2, Dr. Caroline Aura, a research scientist at the University of Nairobi, Kenya and Sabin Behavioral and Research Grant program partner, and Yael Berman, a fact-checking reporter for Agence France-Presse in Brazil and participant in the InfoVacina program, highlight the challenges associated with addressing vaccine misinformation in communities. We talk with Caroline about her new research that examines government and health system trust, while Yael shares how the COVID-19 infodemic has impacted her fact-checking and debunking work.

In the latest episode, Episode 3, Rubina Qasim, assistant professor at the Institute of Nursing & Midwifery, Dow University Health Sciences in Pakistan, and Dr. Ariel Frisancho, country director of the Catholic Medical Mission Board in Peru, consider the future and how policymakers can build trust and equitable access to vaccines to promote healthy communities. Rubina shares her research and successful approaches to addressing vaccine myths and misinformation among the Pashtun community in Pakistan. Ariel observes community experiences with COVID-19 and routine immunization in Peru and the implications for global health policy. Rubina and Ariel discuss community-centered policy changes needed, including more inclusive health systems to boost vaccine acceptance and demand. 

Sabin partners with the 2022 World Vaccine Congress 

Sabin was a proud supporting partner for this year’s World Vaccine Congress in Washington, D.C., held on April 18 to April 21. Stacey Knobler, Vice President of Vaccine Innovation & Global Immunization, Kate Hopkins, Director of Research for Vaccine Acceptance & Demand, and Vince Blaser, Director of Advocacy & Outreach for Vaccine Acceptance & Demand, presented and moderated sessions throughout the conference.

Stacey chaired the Market Access session on Wednesday. Later that day, Kate presented on community-led strategies for vaccine acceptance across low- and middle-income countries, featuring findings from Sabin’s Social and Behavioral Research Grant Program partners and the 2022 Vaccine Acceptance Research Network conference.

Vince chaired Thursday’s Vaccine Safety session, which included presentations on identifying and using specific predictors of vaccine hesitancy amongst health workers, vaccine misinformation in the era of COVID-19, addressing health inequities and mistrust in communities of color, vaccine communication and using social media as a platform that enhances scientific sharing.

How can West Africa address COVID-19 vaccine inequity?

A combination of factors in West Africa has led to low vaccination rates in the region. In West Africa and across the continent, the lack of access to or trust in vaccines o is resulting in citizens being less protected from SARS-CoV-2 infection and from serious COVID-19 disease.

To answer questions from journalists about some of the challenges health systems are facing to vaccinate their populations, the Internews Health Journalism Network organized a Regional Media Dialogue — with support from Sabin’s Immunization Advocates — with Dr. Mosoka P. Fallah, Africa CDC’s Technical Assistance Team Lead for the Saving Lives and Livelihoods (SLL) Programme. There were 53 participants from 20 countries (14 from Africa), of which at least 26 were journalists representing 22 media outlets.

Watch the event’s recording

This month, Internews will also host a Global Media Dialogue,“Unpacking Immunity.” More information in the coming days.

Immunization Advocates-supported journalists’ new reporting

New feature stories were published in African and Latin American media outlets by journalists participating in a training program on immunization reporting led by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), with support from Immunization Advocates. Highlights include stories in The Daily Mail in Zambia about the increasing HPV vaccine uptake in the country and The Standard/NewsDay in Zimbabwe about misinformation and disinformation on COVID-19 vaccines. Two feature stories were published in Sierra Leone’s Nightwatch, one about the rollout of COVAX-donated COVID-19 vaccines and another about their safety and efficaciousness

Upcoming Global Health Events

This May, global health leaders will gather for Global COVID Summit, the 75th World-Health Assembly and the 24th World Conference on Health Promotion, both of which will address public health policies, agendas and budgeting. The appointment of the next WHO Director-General will take place at the World Health Assembly. 

International Nurses Day 2022

On May 12, the world recognizes the efforts of nurses across the world. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) leads the celebration of nurses around the world on International Nurses Day (IND). The theme of this year emphasizes the need to invest in and support nurses to strengthen health systems globally: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health.” 

Sabin recognizes the work of nurses year-round as they provide for their local communities and remain key figures in global immunization efforts to protect lives.