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Global Impact, on Behalf of the Alliance for Advancing Health Online (AAHO), Shares Research and Announces Upcoming New Program at 75th World Health Assembly

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MALIHEALTH

Global Impact releases a preliminary report of findings from Vaccine Confidence Fund grantees and provides information about an upcoming new request for proposals

Alexandria, VA, 25 May 2022 – Today, a preliminary insights report from research supported through the Vaccine Confidence Fund was released at the 75th World Health Assembly. The global research is intended to reveal insights on how to harness social media and online engagement to drive vaccine confidence. Global Impact, the fiscal sponsor and Fund manager, also announced there will be an additional round of requests for proposals (RFPs) for global research focusing on vaccine confidence with an emphasis on enhancing routine immunization and educating health care workers on addressing vaccine hesitancy. The Fund is a program of the Alliance for Advancing Health Online (AAHO) and is financially supported by Meta and Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ USA (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada). 

Last year, the Fund issued an open RFP, managed by Global Impact. Global Impact sought proposals that address how social media can be best utilized to better understand vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination confidence and uptake. In October, the Fund disbursed $7.3 million in funding to 33 grantees globally to pursue new and transformative approaches using social media and behavioral science to address the question.  

The Vaccine Confidence Fund Preliminary Insights Report features findings from the grantees’ research, including insights on potential ways to harness social media and online engagement to drive vaccine confidence. The common themes that emerged from the research can help inform best practices for increasing vaccine confidence and uptake through social media.

“We are excited to share an early look into how Fund grantees are exploring new use cases of social media platforms for health efforts,” said Kang-Xing Jin, Head of Health at Meta. “We’ve seen that online platforms have unique strengths, like global scale and the ability to personalize content and services at low cost, that can play a meaningful role in improving global public health – for the present pandemic and beyond.”

Bridget Deacon, Managing Director at Shujaaz Inc., a grant recipient, commented: “Our research shows that young people can be powerful change agents in their communities. It underlined for us the power of real-life and fictionalized stories to get people talking. We know it’s those conversations that shift norms and change behavior – for increasing vaccination uptake and beyond. This grant also helped us to refine our targeting; enabling us to reach the right audiences with public health messages that resonate, at the right time, from the most powerful messenger.”

The report includes an update from a University of California at San Francisco team that examined the potential of WhatsApp chatbots to address COVID-19 vaccination concerns among pregnant and breastfeeding women in rural North India. "Chatbots in WhatsApp groups are feasible, acceptable and effectively address COVID-19 vaccination concerns among pregnant and breastfeeding women in rural North India,” said Alison M. El Ayadi, ScD MPH, Associate Professor, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health Department of Obstetrics, University of California, San Francisco.

In July 2022, the Fund plans to release a full version of the report including insights from all 33 grantees. 

Global Impact, on behalf of the Alliance for Advancing Health Online is excited to be launching a second Request for Proposals (RFP) in the coming weeks for global research focusing on vaccine confidence with an emphasis on enhancing routine immunization and educating health care workers on addressing vaccine hesitancy. Click here to sign up for e-mail notification when the RFP is released.

“Addressing vaccination hesitancy requires investment in efforts to increase the understanding of the importance of routine immunization,” said Michael D. Fornwall, Associate Vice President, Vaccination Confidence, Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ USA (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada). “By breaking down traditional silos, it is our hope that the insights shared will support more innovative use of social media to enable individuals and communities to have credible and accurate data and resources to make informed decisions about health care.”  

About AAHO
The Alliance for Advancing Health Online (AAHO) is a newly forming and evolving coalition of stakeholders across the technology, health, global development, and academic sectors who are united in exploring how social media and online engagement can increase the health and resiliency of communities around the world. Currently, stakeholders involved with the AAHO include the Bay Area Global Health Alliance, the CDC Foundation, The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. The $40 million multi-year initiative, funded by Meta and Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ USA (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), will initially focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy and vaccine equity with a strong focus on historically excluded or marginalized communities. 

About Global Impact
Global Impact works on charitable ventures to inspire greater giving and serves as a trusted advisor, intermediary and implementing partner across the private, nonprofit and public sectors. Through these partnerships, Global Impact has raised nearly $2 billion for causes such as disaster relief and global development. Global Impact’s reach and services are complemented by the work of its subsidiary company, Geneva Global.

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Cassie Call
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Photo credit: Mali Health

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