The second annual Vaccination Acceptance Research Network Conference (VARN2023): Shifting the immunization narrative to center equity and community expertise

Kathryn L. Hopkins, Gloria Lihemo, Talya Underwood, Theresa Sommers, Meredith Dockery, Nicholas Boehman, Ève Dubé, Rubina Qasim, Abdul Momin Kazi, Holly Seale, Rupali Limaye, Alex de Jonquieres, Charles Kakaire, Stacey Knobler, Deepa Risal Pokharel, Ephrem Lemango, Anuradha Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Promoting vaccine acceptance and demand is an essential, yet often underrecognized component of ensuring that everyone has access to the full benefits of immunization. Convened by the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN) is a global network of multidisciplinary stakeholders driving strengthened vaccination acceptance, demand, and delivery. VARN works to advance and apply social and behavioral science insights, research, and expertise to the challenges and opportunities facing vaccination decision-makers. The second annual VARN conference, When Communities Lead, Global Immunization Succeeds, was held June 13–15, 2023, in Bangkok, Thailand. VARN2023 provided a space for the exploration and dissemination of a growing body of evidence, knowledge, and practice for driving action across the vaccination acceptance, demand, and delivery ecosystem. VARN2023 was co-convened by Sabin and UNICEF and co-sponsored by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. VARN2023 brought together 231 global, regional, national, sub-national, and community-level representatives from 47 countries. The conference provided a forum to share learnings and solutions from work conducted across 40+ countries. This article is a synthesis of evidence-based insights from the VARN2023 Conference within four key recommendations: (1) Make vaccine equity and inclusion central to programming to improve vaccine confidence, demand, and delivery; (2) Prioritize communities in immunization service delivery through people-centered approaches and tools that amplify community needs to policymakers, build trust, and combat misinformation; (3) Encourage innovative community-centric solutions for improved routine immunization coverage; and (4) Strengthen vaccination across the life course through building vaccine demand, service integration, and improving the immunization service experience. Insights from VARN can be applied to positively impact vaccination acceptance, demand, and uptake around the world.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVaccine
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Immunization
  • Life-course immunization
  • Routine immunization
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccination demand
  • Vaccine acceptance
  • Vaccine confidence
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Vaccine uptake

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