This Podcast was recorded by the Mesh Team, based on an interview with Dr Heidi Larson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In this 30-minute interview, Dr Larson provides her insight into the public health community and the pitfalls researchers and engagement practitioners can find themselves in when working with communities to roll out vaccines. The podcast explores the following themes:
- The reasons behind vaccine hesitancy in some communities
- Dealing with epidemic preparedness and response through engagement activities
- Trust building between practitioners and the community
- The role of social media and vaccine hesitancy
If you do not have time to watch the full podcast, you can listen to extracts covering the following themes:
The Role of Engagement in Epidemic Preparedness [3 Minutes]
Dr Larson is an anthropologist and Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP); Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, LSHTM; Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington; and Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security Fellow. Dr Larson previously headed Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF, chaired GAVI’s Advocacy Task Force, and served on the WHO SAGE Working Group on vaccine hesitancy. The VCP is a WHO Centre of Excellence addressing vaccine hesitancy.
Dr Larson’s research focuses on the analysis of social and political factors that can affect the uptake of health interventions and influence policies. Her particular interests lie in risk and rumour management, from clinical trials to delivery, and in building public trust. She served on the FDA Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Emergency Communication Expert Working Group, and is Principle Investigator of the EU-funded (EBODAC) project on the deployment, acceptance, and compliance of an Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone.