Social Sciences and Humanities Network

The Social Sciences and Humanities Network (SSHN) focuses on vaccine acceptance and vaccine hesitancy, linking social scientists and humanities researchers who have expertise and interest in the ethical, legal, and social implications of vaccine programs. SSHN has completed three projects.

Mapping vaccine hesitancy in Canada was designed to provide a contextualized understanding of vaccine hesitancy and its determinants in Canada, whileVaccine hesitancy in Canadian parents was designed to develop an instrument to measure the prevalence of vaccine hesitancy in Canadian parents and to monitor vaccine hesitancy online using digital detection tools.

Another project, called Vaccine hesitancy: a “wicked” risk communication problem, examined media coverage of vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination in order to measure how well news coverage informs public understanding. Three SSHN projects are currently ongoing: Vaccinating pregnant women: why are maternity care providers hesitant investigated and assessed the determinants of Canadian family physicians’, obstetrician-gynaecologists’, nurses’, and midwives’ willingness to recommend and/or administer vaccines to their pregnant patients. Developing and evaluating public health messages to address vaccine hesitancy will identify which communication strategies show promise for reducing parental vaccine hesitancy and improving intentions to vaccinate through parent focus groups and an online experiment to test combinations of information sources (parent vs. physician) and content types (intuitive vs. deliberative). Addressing vaccine hesitancy: pan-Canadian validation of an effective strategy will evaluate the impact of motivational interviewing on parents’ intention to vaccinate their infant in a pan-Canadian context.

In addition, the SSHN has initiated three new projects in 2017. Determinants of HPV vaccine uptake in school-based programs in Canada will allow to better understand the determinants of HPV vaccine uptake in school-based vaccination programs in Canada in order to identify promising strategies to increase HPV vaccine acceptance and uptake in schools. Identifying effective communication materials to enhance vaccine acceptance will identify and/or develop communication materials for addressing vaccine hesitancy that both follow evidence-based risk communication criteria and meet the needs and preferences of parents. Another project will be initiated in 2018. Unpacking vaccine hesitancy among perinatal healthcare providers: influences on beliefs and practices will explore vaccine hesitancy in healthcare providers who provide perinatal medical care and their perceptions of information interventions aimed at increasing their acceptance and promotion of vaccines for pregnant women and infants.