My second summer research project was called 'Vaccination Champion'. The project aim was to create a course to train students, particularly those studying health-related subjects, to become ‘vaccination champions’ and promote vaccination, such that vaccine hesitancy can be adequately addressed.
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways of eliminating disease across the world, with 2 to 3 million deaths prevented by vaccination every year. Despite this, vaccine hesitancy continues to increase. Vaccine hesitancy is the scientific term for anti-vaccination; it is when people with access to vaccines delay or refuse vaccination. This could have potentially devastating consequences on public health. This is evident in that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently listed vaccine hesitancy as one of their top 10 biggest threats to global health. This is where the idea of ‘Vaccination Champions’ stems from; a vaccination champion is a person who understands, supports and promotes the use of recommended vaccines. The project is about training students, particularly those studying health-related subjects, to become ‘vaccination champions’ and promote vaccination to their communities, such that vaccine hesitancy can be adequately addressed.
The Vaccination Champion course was delivered as an online workshop last summer to over 50 UCL School of Pharmacy undergraduates and postgraduates. Consequently, a UCL article was published on the project :
Due to the knowledge and experience I have gained from developing and organising the course, I have co-authored a learning article with my project supervisors for the Pharmaceutical Journal, on how pharmacists and pharmacy teams can address vaccine hesitancy. The link to the article is as follows: