World Immunisation Week, held during the last week of April, aims to amplify the importance of vaccines and the collective action needed to promote vaccine uptake to protect everyone against disease. Over the past two years, we have witnessed a global rise in public vaccine questioning, which has the potential to lead to an increase in vaccine hesitancy and significantly hinder the uptake of vaccines.
This global health challenge has led many health practitioners, researchers and organizations, including those affiliated with the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS), to contribute to public discourse that promotes vaccine trust and uptake. In response to the need for more vaccine dialogue, the theme of this year’s International Day of Immunology (a day dedicated to increasing global awareness of the importance of immunology in the fight against infection, autoimmunity and cancer) has been aptly chosen as Vaccines! Below, we highlight vaccine promotional and educational activities the IUIS and IUIS-affiliated societies are involved in:
- IUIS, in collaboration with the European Federation of Immunology Societies (EFIS), are co-hosting a webinar – “Science, State and Challenges of COVID-19 vaccines” featuring global experts who will take stock of where we are and what the future may hold for COVID-19 vaccines (Register).
- IUIS, EFIS, young EFIS and Immunopaedia have co-developed a #Thankyouimmunology social media campaign which includes explainer videos that emphasize the importance of immunology research and how vaccines work (2021 videos; 2022 videos). The yEFIS team have also created short vaccine explainer videos that cater to questions that kids (<14 years) have around immunology and vaccines.
- Are you a scientist looking for pointers on how to communicate about vaccines? Look no further than the British Society for Immunology’s (BSI) plethora of resources for vaccine engagement and their eleven-part (and counting) COVID-19 vaccine Q&A series (see @britsocimm on Instagram). The BSI has also initiated an online public engagement initiative, ‘Vaccine engagement day’ held annually in March, that aims to continuously “raise the expert voice of the immunology community in #VaccineConversations”.
- Want to know more about processes associated with development and approval of vaccines? The American Association of Immunologists has a digital resource describing the major milestones associated with vaccine R&D and how vaccines are approved. If you are interested in knowing more about the most successful vaccines and how immunisation has drastically improved global health, follow their #ThankyouImmunology social media campaign on Twitter.
- Do you have burning questions about vaccines? The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology hosts a variety of events to ensure access to accurate information on COVID-19. The ASI’s online “Fireside Chats” allow the public to ask experts questions. The ASI’s virtual public lecture on COVID-19 vaccines importantly covered the factors which influence and inform people’s vaccine choices. For this year’s Day of Immunology, the South African Immunology Society is hosting a special public webinar “COVID-19 Vaccines: Answers to the questions you always wanted to ask.” (Register here).
- Want to keep up to date with the recent studies highlighting improved understanding of pathology, novel vaccines and therapeutics? Follow Immunopaedia’s breaking news articles.
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Blog by the IUIS Social Media Team, Lead: Cheleka AM Mpande.
Header photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash.