Training Students as Vaccination Champions to combat Vaccine Hesitancy
12 September 2020
Nusayba Ali (2nd Year MPharm student, Laidlaw Scholar), supervised by Dr Sudaxshina Murdan and Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope, Trains Over 50 Undergraduates and Postgraduates to be Vaccination Champions.
UCL MPharm student and Laidlaw Scholar, Nusayba Ali, Dr Sudaxshina Murdan (Associate Professor, UCL School of Pharmacy) and Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope (Lead Pharmacist for Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship and Healthcare Associated Infections at Public Health England and Honorary Lecturer at UCL School of Pharmacy) delivered an online course to UCL School of Pharmacy undergraduates and postgraduates.
The aim was to train students to become Vaccination Champions, who are subsequently more informed about vaccination, such as its benefits, and more confident at promoting vaccination uptake, especially to people who are vaccine hesitant. Following an online workshop, the participants took action by conducting a range of activities related to promoting vaccination, which included having conversations (in person and online) with vaccine-hesitant family members, friends and strangers, as well as blogging and posting about vaccination, e.g. through posters and polls on social media.
Nusayba Ali says "As a UCL Laidlaw Scholar, I had the opportunity to carry out a summer project of my choice, in order to enhance my research and leadership skills. Having worked with Dr Murdan on a project last summer, I was interested in working with her again on a different project. This is how I came to develop the Vaccination Champions course, under the supervision of Dr Sudaxshina Murdan and Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope."
Vaccine hesitancy – a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite their availability - is a growing problem and was recently listed by the World Health Organization as one of their top 10 biggest threats to global health. Given that prescriber recommendation and community engagement are two effective ways of addressing this problem, training university students, especially those studying health-related subjects, to become Vaccination Champions is one way of addressing vaccine hesitancy as the Champions engage with their communities. We plan to run the course again in future, to train many more Vaccination Champions.