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The consumption and distribution of misinformation is often associated with vaccine hesitancy. However, little is known about how frontline healthcare workers, such as nurses and doctors, may be contributing to the sharing of and support for misinformation in relation to COVID-19 vaccines. Given the public’s trust of healthcare workers, it is crucial to understand the potential influence and impact that their perspectives might have on public health interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic is an important example with wide relevance to other current and future infectious disease outbreaks.

This project brings together an international team of researchers from diverse subject backgrounds to strengthen our understanding of this phenomenon from the particular perspective of frontline healthcare workers in four countries –Brazil, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Working with the University of Oxford’s new Pandemic Sciences Institute, the overarching aim is to provide timely and relevant empirical data that will strengthen both medical research and public health policy.

Research objectives

  • To understand what are considered trusted sources of information on vaccination among frontline healthcare workers
  • To understand the types of misinformation that are received, trusted and distributed by healthcare workers
  • To explore the social and ethical tensions created by discerning different sources of information about vaccines
  • To understand the historical contexts of vaccine hesitancy and the consumption and distribution of online misinformation

RESEARCH TEAM

Amina AbubakarProfessor and Director, Institute for Human Development, Aga Khan University

Noémie Déom, Research Assistant, Rapid Research Evaluation and Appraisal Lab (RREAL), University College London

Siphephelo Dlamini, Clinical Research Nursing Manager, Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI)

Michelle FernandezHealth Policy Researcher, University of Brasília

Sally FramptonHumanities and Healthcare Fellow, Faculty of History, University of Oxford

Ethan Friedrich, DPhil Student, Faculty of History, University of Oxford

Fiona GroenhoutResearch Projects Coordinator, Ethox Centre, University of Oxford

Patricia KingoriProfessor of Global Health Ethics, Ethox Centre, and Investigator, Pandemic Sciences Institute, University of Oxford.

Sam MartinSenior Research Fellow, RREAL (Rapid Research Evaluation and Appraisal Lab), University College London

Paula LarssonDPhil Student, Faculty of History, University of Oxford

Gustavo MattaFull Researcher in Public Health and Coordinator of Zika Social Sciences Network at Fiocruz

Neetha MorarSenior Research Manager, HIV and other Infectious Diseases Research Unit (HIDRU), South African Medical Research Council

Nothando Ngwenya, Social Science Faculty member, AHRI

Busi NkosiSocial Science Research Associate, AHRI

Sabina OderoResearcher, Aga Khan University

Ester PaivaPublic Health Researcher, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation

Samantha VanderslottUniversity Research Lecturer, Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford

This research is funded by a grant from the John Fell Fund (ref 0010504).

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay