The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a notice of special interest for research strategies and interventions that can help in addressing the problem of vaccine hesitancy in populations and communities that experience health disparities. NIH notes that there are disparities in uptake and acceptance of vaccines in adults from racial and ethnic minority populations, and further research is needed to understand what role misinformation, distrust, and vaccine hesitancy play in the process. NIH notes that applications on urgent vaccination topics like SARS-CoV-2 are encouraged.
The solicitation notes key questions that can be addressed, including (but not limited to):
- What interventions and strategies are most effective to increase the reach, access, acceptance, and vaccine completion among populations that experience health disparities?
- How can evidence-based interventions that have reduced vaccine hesitancy and increased both access and uptake of other vaccinations (e.g., influenza and HPV) be adapted and/or adopted to increase the uptake of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine?
- How can social media, digital marketing, and other innovative technologies (such as smart phone applications) be integrated into vaccine promotion interventions to identify and address the sources of misinformation regarding vaccination?
- How can vaccine-related communications on coronavirus, HPV, influenza, and other vaccines be generated and promoted by clinicians and healthcare systems to be community and culturally appropriate?
- What are effective culturally specific and/or community competent approaches for reducing barriers and increasing the vaccination uptake and completion?
- What service delivery or organizational level policies are effective in facilitating broad vaccination uptake and reducing barriers such as stigma, distrust, fear, discrimination, and exposure to misinformation?
- What are effective dissemination and implementation strategies related to vaccination in clinical and community settings?
- What rapid data collection methods (e.g., rapid ethnographic assessments) can be used to identify and prioritize vaccine interventions in communities?
NIH’s call for research on these topics expires January 8, 2022.