During the World Immunization Week 2023, VAX-TRUST researchers are supporting healthcare professionals in encountering a wide range of varying attitudes and opinions towards vaccination.
Currently, the project is disseminating research results to healthcare professionals to equip them to address and understand parental vaccine hesitancy. With interventions targeted at primary vaccinators, VAX-TRUST aims to enhance reflexivity in the ways in which the healthcare professionals encounter vaccine hesitant parents.
“Healthcare professionals have really appreciated a chance to reflect their experiences on vaccine hesitancy”, says Principal Investigator Pia Vuolanto. Next, the project will compile together the results from various sub-projects in different countries, lessons learnt, and feedback. These will form basis for recommendations on addressing vaccine hesitancy, targeted for healthcare providers and health policy makers.
The ”VAX-TRUST – Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy in Europe” research programme investigates vaccine hesitancy as a broad societal phenomenon. The project is carried out in Finland, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, and the UK. VAX-TRUST’s unique contribution is that it conducts multidisciplinary research on vaccine hesitancy.
The World Immunization Week is celebrated annually in the last week of April.
The Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical from Universidade Nova de Lisboa (IHMT NOVA) hosted the event Interventions for health professionals to reduce vaccine hesitancy in European target regions: evaluators’ training week (27 February – 3 March). The initiative brought together participants from six of the seven European countries where the VAX-TRUST project is taking place. The participants were trained to act as local evaluators of interventions. These interventions, designed to increase awareness of the complexity of vaccine hesitancy among healthcare professionals involved in discussing childhood vaccines with parents, will be implemented by the project partners in the different target regions of the project.
The training week was designed and carried out by the team in charge for the project’s Work Package 6, which is coordinated by Professor Tiago Correia and researchers, Doctors Cátia Sá Guerreiro, Rita Morais and André Beja. Until July 2023, this team will work with the local evaluators on the evaluation of the VAX-TRUST interventions.
It was an inspiring week for all participants who worked together to share knowledge, skills, tools and practical examples on evaluation planning and operationalization. The overall aim was to create a common understanding of the process and strategies to be used on the evaluation of each intervention. Besides the trainers from the hosting team, the programme included external guests, such as Dr. Verónica Gomez, who presented on the experience of the Portuguese National Institute of Health in conducting the evaluation of the first European School of Health Information. Another invited guest was Brazilian researcher Dr. Sofia Reinach from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation who discussed her experience as evaluator of health interventions with the trainees.
It is also worth noting the important message in the opening session of the course from Professor Paulo Ferrinho, the director of the Global Public Health unit of IHMT NOVA, who highlighted the importance of evaluation as a driver for understanding and strengthening health interventions. Dr. Pia Vuolanto, the project PI, greeted the trainees online on the last day.
The team concluded that the overall objective of laying the groundwork for participants to conduct the evaluation of the different VAX-TRUST interventions was achieved. This process is now moving forward, with the support and interaction of the WP6 IHMT NOVA team, in each of the target regions selected for implementation of this phase of the project.
AIM OF VAX-TRUST
We study vaccine hesitancy as a broad societal phenomenon with the primary aim of improving the experience of healthcare professionals and patients in encountering the topic of vaccination.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 965280.