Learning from the social science of vaccine deployment and administration- A poscast by Sonar-Global

Vaccines are in the news every day as some countries struggle to improve vaccination rates and others struggle to access vaccines. A social science approach is needed to further explore what actions can be taken to optimize vaccine acceptance during a disease outbreak, with immediate lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic. Social science can highlight histories of oppression, political-economic contexts that exacerbate inequality, and how communities experience injustice with implications for how individuals view, trust, and take up vaccines. In this Epicast, we explore social science perspectives on vaccine deployment through the lens of Project AViD: Anthropological Exploration of Facilitators and Barriers to Vaccine Deployment and Administration During Disease Outbreaks.

Music Credits to Joseph McDade https://josephmcdade.com/music  – track names “Sunrise Expedition” and “Quiet Calculation


About the Authors

Dr Schmidt-Sane

Dr Schmidt-Sane is a medical anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher in the Health & Nutrition cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. Her work is currently on the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP), which brings together social scientists, public health and humanitarian practitioners to address the social dimensions of epidemic and humanitarian crises. Her research focuses on the social science of epidemics in both informal settlements and border areas.

Professor Shelley Lees

Professor Shelley Lees is leading on anthropological research alongside two Ebola vaccine trials (EBOVAC and PREVAC) in Sierra Leone. She is also principal investigator on the AViD study. She is work package lead for the ALERRT consortium, focusing on social science and community engagement for research and response to epidemics, and the EBOVAC3 consortium where she is leading research on community preparedness and acceptability of vaccine deployment for future epidemics in Sierra Leone, Guinea and DRC. She is the co-Chair of the GOARN Social Science Research Group.

Dr Alex Bowmer

Dr Alex Bowmer is leading the AViD Uganda case study that explores how local knowledge of vaccines is constructed and communicated. This research explores the cross-overs between human and veterinary medicine, as it seeks to establish whether negative experiences with veterinary vaccines amongst rural subsistence livestock farmers in the South of Uganda affects human uptake. His research will also assist with the roll-out of the new Rift Valley Fever vaccine, as this case study will examine the acceptability of a OneHealth vaccine.

Dr Lys Alcayna-Stevens

Dr Lys Alcayna-Stevens is a medical anthropologist whose work focuses on local political economies of epidemic disease outbreaks in rural Democratic Republic of Congo. She is a lecturer at the New School for Social Research in New York, and a Research Fellow in the Anthropology Department of Harvard University, working on postdoctoral research projects based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg. She also conducts policy-oriented qualitative and quantitative research in central Africa for the UN and other international health and environmental organizations.

Dr Luisa Enria

Dr Luisa Enria has conducted ethnographic research looking into community experiences of the West African Ebola outbreak and acceptability of biomedical interventions such as vaccine trials. Her current work explores local experiences of “crisis” and the ways in which the militarised Ebola response shaped young people’s relationship with the state.

Dr Samantha Vanderslott

Dr Samantha Vanderslott is a social science researcher as part of the Oxford Martin School Programme: ‘The “Human Factor”: Infectious Disease and Collective Responsibility’. She is researching parental attitudes and decisions on vaccination.

Dr Clarissa Simas

Dr Clarissa Simas is a psychologist and medical anthropologist and has worked in Brazil and Haiti. She is currently a research assistant with the Vaccine Confidence Project. She is currently investigating public acceptance of health interventions, with a particular focus on vaccine confidence in South America, risk perceptions and psychogenic adverse reactions to vaccines globally.

Mark Marchant

Mark Marchant is a political theorist focusing on power and change in two main areas: (i) research in and for humanitarian responses to emergent disease outbreaks and (ii) preventing and responding to sexual and gender- based violence (SGBV). He is part of the African coaLition for Epidemic Research, Response and Training (ALERRT) consortium’s work package on social science and community engagement. ALERRT is a multi-disciplinary consortium of 21 partner organisations from 13 countries building a patient- centred clinical research network to respond to epidemics across sub-Saharan Africa. Mark is contributing to AViD through lessons learned across the case studies and the development of tools and frameworks for social science learning around vaccine deployment.

Dr Theresa Jones

Dr Theresa Jones holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hull and is a Senior Research Associate at Anthrologica. She has conducted research across Africa and the Middle East, specialising in participatory research methodologies, and is experienced in the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support programmes in fragile settings. Theresa is leading the overarching evaluation component of the AViD project which is specifically framed to: 1) provide important reflection for each of the case studies; 2) synthesise common themes across each of the case studies to provide useful reflection for the overall project; and 3) provide constructive learning for social scientists working in vaccine deployment and administration in the future.

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