The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation.

Through our Vaccine Acceptance and Demand initiative, we aim to increase acceptance of vaccines and immunization among communities in low- and middle-income countries. Our programs invest in research to further explore the social and behavioral dynamics of vaccine acceptance, including the use of social media interventions to address vaccine acceptance and demand barriers. We bring together communities of social science researchers and scholars, global health experts, and other stakeholders to share and disseminate knowledge. We also engage with media professionals and health workers with educational resources to strengthen their communications about vaccines and immunization and connect journalists to health experts to help them report accurately on immunization.

Meeting the Challenge of Vaccination Hesitancy, a report published in June 2020 by the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group, lays out actionable steps that leaders across healthcare, research, philanthropy and technology can take to build confidence in vaccines and vaccinations.

Current Projects

Alliance for Advancing Health Online

Sabin Vaccine Institute has joined leaders from the technology, healthcare, global development and academic sectors in the Alliance for Advancing Health Online, a new initiative to advance public understanding of how social media and behavioral sciences can be leveraged to improve the health of communities around the world.

In addition to Sabin, the Alliance partners include Bay Area Global Health Alliance, the CDC Foundation, Facebook, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada), the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Bank and the World Health Organization.

In support of the Alliance’s broader mission, Sabin and Bay Area Global Health Alliance are facilitating the Insights Dialogue, a series of convenings with global experts and immunization professionals from lower middle-income countries to unearth challenges and identify opportunities for social media to support stronger vaccine uptake. We will also curate a set of evidence, resources and tools that can be used by immunization professionals to integrate social media into their programming.

Social and Behavioral Research Grants Program

Thank you for your interest in Sabin’s 2021 Social and Behavioral Research Grants program. The call for proposals is now closed.

The Social and Behavioral Research Grants Program provides funding to researchers and implementers from interdisciplinary fields exploring vaccine acceptance amongst communities in low- and middle-income country settings. Through this program, Sabin encourages collaborative local partnerships between academic researchers, health officials and local communities. Grant partners conduct innovative research projects that utilize appropriate and rigorous methods to illuminate the social and behavioral dimensions of vaccination at multiple levels and then examine potential solutions to address those dimensions. Grant partners have the opportunity to build relationships and have impactful conversations about their work and its potential application to immunization programming through the VARN, as well as by writing for the Resource Hub.

Past Grant Recipients

Most recently, Sabin received 119 proposals representing 36 countries for the 2020 grant cycle. Sabin awarded grants of up to $30,000 to five research teams to explore the social and behavioral drivers of COVID-19 misinformation, and its impact on routine immunization and the acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine. The research teams from India, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda will conduct their research virtually to ensure the safety of the research teams and the communities with which they work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the 2020 grant partners:

For the 2019 grant cycle, Sabin received more than 50 proposals representing 32 countries. Sabin awarded grants of $24,000 each to research teams from Uganda, India and Sierra Leone to research, design and pilot a research project and community-level intervention. Each research project contributed to our understanding of the social drivers of vaccine acceptance across country and local-level contexts, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Grant partners’ research findings, detailing what drives individuals to accept vaccines in specific contexts, move us toward a global future free from preventable disease.

Learn more about the grant recipients and their research projects.

External Review Committee

An External Review Committee of multidisciplinary experts will peer review eligible applications and advise Sabin on the selection of grant partners.

Any questions regarding proposal submission can be addressed to: [email protected]

The Vaccination Acceptance Research Network

The Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN) is an entity for global leadership in the application and advancement of social and behavioral science insights, research and expertise. Participating members meet to discuss and address socio-behavioral approaches to vaccination research, identify gaps in existing research and opportunities for new interdisciplinary research and work collaboratively to address vaccine acceptance in low- and middle-income country settings. Members include multidisciplinary academic researchers, stemming from the social and behavioral science fields and global health, as well as global health practitioners, as well as Sabin’s Social and Behavioral Research Grant Program partners.

Drawing from multiple disciplines, VARN participants link social and behavioral research insights with programming and policy by:

  • Analyzing vaccination topics from various theoretical and methodological approaches to guide the design of solutions around vaccination acceptance and demand
  • Sharing knowledge, research, and papers through VARN convened-events
  • Serving on working groups to collaboratively approach vaccination challenges
  • Co-authoring working group papers and other materials for the Resource Hub
  • Setting research agendas to move the field(s) forward

The network’s strengths include access to research experts from multiple disciplines and geographic regions, a strong connection to national immunization program managers and global health policy makers, and the ability to bring relevant expertise and experience to vaccination acceptance topics.

Funding to support VARN operation and management is provided by the Sabin Vaccine Institute through a private philanthropic grant.