New research identifies the need for easily accessible on-line tools to support health workers in their communications with vaccine hesitant caregivers and individuals. Study undertaken by researchers involved with the VARN Network: Dr Seale, Dr Dube and A/Prof Danchin
There is growing attention around the need to improve the confidence and skills of healthcare providers to assist them in completing the complex task of communicating to vaccine hesitant parents and other individuals. While interventions have been developed and evaluated in a research setting, there is uncertainty regarding the public availability. This study aimed to examine the current landscape regarding the availability of online dialogue- based interventions which aim to support vaccination conversations. Based on a scoping review, the study authors found that there are currently 29 interventions available online but in many instances it was common to find the resource located on the fifth to tenth page of search entries, and usually disguised under seemingly non-descript and nonspecific titles. Lastly, not all resources were available for free and not all could be accessed directly from the site. The findings of this study suggest that while there have been numerous interventions developed to support healthcare providers to communicate with vaccine hesitant parents/individuals, there are fundamental issues with accessing the materials in a timely and convenient way. Having a central repository or website (which links to the interventions) would not only assistant healthcare providers to have an improved comprehension of the different interventions available but also would theoretically increase the utilization by providers.
The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is leading an effort to create a new global Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN) to help immunization programs better understand and address vaccination acceptance and hesitancy challenges. As part of its leadership, Sabin is serving as the Executive Secretariat for the network.
“The measles outbreaks that are happening in the United States and in many countries across the globe highlight the need for new approaches to vaccination acceptance,” said Dr. Bruce Gellin, Sabin’s president of global immunization. “The Vaccination Acceptance Research Network will bring experts from multiple disciplines together with immunization programs and providers to do projects that help better understand the barriers to acceptance and to design ways to address the barriers.”
Along with measles outbreaks, a recent World Health Organization report that identified vaccination hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global health, shows the need for a network that can bring together a broad array of expertise to assist immunization programs and providers. According to Gellin, the VARN network will link immunization program professionals and researchers from academic and university-based schools and programs, international and other advocacy organizations, public health organizations, national public health institutes, and the International Association of Immunization Managers, which is part of Sabin’s broader efforts.
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