Sabin Vaccine Institute Funds Researchers to Investigate COVID-19 Misinformation and Design Solutions to Increase Vaccine Acceptance | Releases

Sabin Vaccine Institute funds researchers to investigate COVID-19 misinformation and design solutions to increase vaccine acceptance

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) announced today that it has awarded grants to research teams in four countries to explore the social misinformation factors of COVID-19 and its impact on acceptance of routine immunization and acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The grants are part of Sabin’s Small Grant Program for Social and Behavioral Interventions for Vaccine Acceptance, which provides funding to researchers in low- to middle-income countries to better understand the social drivers of vaccination and design small-scale interventions to assess its impact on the acceptance of vaccination.

Five research teams in India, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda will receive up to US $ 30,000 to conduct this research and test a small-scale intervention in their respective communities over a period of 10 months.

Through this support, Sabin fosters collaborative and field partnerships between academic researchers, health officials, and local communities. Recipients will have the opportunity to form partnerships and have powerful conversations about their research and potential social science applications for immunization with the interdisciplinary Vaccine Acceptance Research Network led by Sabin, an international group of social scientists and public health specialists who addresses the acceptance and demand of vaccines. Sabin will also support each research team in the compilation and dissemination of an open access scientific journal publication, accessible to the communities in which the research is conducted. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all components of the projects will be conducted virtually to ensure the safety of the research teams and the communities they work with.

“It is more important than ever to better understand vaccine uptake in low- and middle-income countries,” said Kaitlin Christenson, Vice President of Vaccine Acceptance and Demand for Sabin. “The expected introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine encourages the need to learn more about how to drive vaccine acceptance and demand and work with community immunization programs on intervention strategies, while continuing to improve the general acceptance of immunization. “

Sabin 2020 beneficiaries include:

In India, Dr. Rajeev Seth, MBBS, MD, DNB, a senior consultant pediatrician, who leads Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha, a non-profit organization in New Delhi focused on the children’s health and well-being of underserved children, will lead a team of researchers to study community health worker perceptions and misinformation around vaccines. Co-investigators from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, represented by Baldeep Dhaliwal, MPH, and Dr. Anita Shet, MD, from the Department of International Health within the International Center for Vaccine Access, will collaborate with Dr. Seth and a team of researchers in the project. The virtual study will employ multifaceted interventions by community health workers in the Mewat district of Haryana, India, to address barriers to vaccine acceptance.

In kenya, Dr. Benson Wamalwa, MSc, PhD, Research Scientist and Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, will lead a team to virtually study COVID-19 misinformation on trusted social media with the goal of better understanding perceptions of COVID- 19 and the willingness of the community to accept a COVID-19 vaccine in Tans Nzoia, Kenya. The research team will implement and evaluate an intervention that seeks to discredit misinformation about COVID-19 through teleconsultations. Kenyan registered nurse Chrysanthus Wamela, head of registry for AMUA’s maternal and child health unit, joins the team as a co-investigator to guide the project.

In pakistan, Abdul Momin Kazi, MPH, MBBS, Associate Professor of Research in Pediatrics and Child Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, will lead a virtual research project to study the perceptions and barriers of childhood vaccination among health workers and children. caregivers in a peri-urban site in Karachi. The research team will also explore the role of mobile health-based interventions and social media to improve childhood immunization during COVID-19. Dr. Fauzia Aman Malik, PhD, MSc, special advisor to the dean for global health research initiatives at Yale University, will serve as a co-investigator on the project.

Also in Pakistan, Rubina Qasim, MSc, Principal Investigator and Lecturer at Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi, will lead a research team exploring misinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccination among urban slum dwellers in Landhi Town , Karachi. Following their investigation, the team will employ a co-design approach, working with community members to design and implement an appropriate intervention that addresses misinformation about COVID-19 and its impact on the acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine. 19. Dr. Mohammad Tahir Yousafzai, PhD, consultant epidemiologist and senior instructor at Aga Khan University, joins the project as a co-investigator.

In uganda, Dr. Freddy Kitutu, PhD, health systems lecturer, pharmacist and researcher and dean of Makerere University School of Health Sciences, will lead a team to study the prevalence and effect of misinformation in the Buikwe District . Following their investigation, the team will train and empower community influence groups to address misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccinations about vaccines. The virtual study will explore the social mobilization intervention based on dialogue through community groups and influencers. Jacquellyn Nambi Ssanya, MPH, from Makerere University School of Public Health joins the project as a co-investigator.

About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding access to and increasing use of vaccines around the world, advancing vaccine research and development, and expanding vaccine knowledge and innovation. Unleashing the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has created a robust ecosystem of sponsors, innovators, implementers, health specialists, regulatory authorities, and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free from preventable diseases. Sabin, as a non-profit organization with more than two decades of experience, remains committed to finding durable solutions and extending the absolute benefits of vaccines to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, @SabinVaccine.

Media Contact:
Mary Beth Wooden
Sabin Vaccine Institute
+1 (202) 842-5025

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