Global Challenges and the COVID Vaccine: Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

Via Zoom


Global Challenges and the COVID Vaccine: Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

Via Zoom

Achieving widespread coverage of COVID-19 vaccines is critical for pandemic control. Yet misinformation and concerns about the safety of these new vaccines have given rise to reluctance among many people to be vaccinated. In this webinar, we will unpack the history and drivers of vaccine hesitancy and discuss strategies to overcome vaccine concerns, including lessons learned from past disease eradication efforts.


Michael H. Merson, M.D. - Michael Merson is the Wolfgang Joklik Professor of Global Health and Professor of Medicine at Duke University. He was the founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute, served as Vice President and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at Duke University and as Vice Chancellor for Duke-National University of Singapore Affairs, and was the founding Director of SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute. Prior to joining Duke he was the first Dean of the Yale School of Public Health and directed the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Previously he directed the WHO Diarrheal Diseases Control Program and Global Program on AIDS. He has served in advisory capacities for UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund, World Bank, World Economic Forum, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and on several National Institutes of Health review panels and advisory committees.

Thomas N. Denny, M Phil, MSc. - Mr. Denny is the Chief Operating Officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI), a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, an Affiliate Member of the Duke Global Health Institute, and a Member of the COVID-19 Medical Testing Subcommittee Duke University School of Medicine, and the Associate Dean of the newly established Duke University Research Triangle Park Campus, Duke School of Medicine. He is the principal investigator of the NIH-NIAID Division of AIDS Immunology Quality Assurance Program, External Quality Assurance Program, Non-human Primate Core Virology Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Research and Development, and Virology Quality Assurance Program. Additionally, he is the senior investigator for the NIAID Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units; a program that evaluates control against diseases other than AIDS. Mr. Denny has authored or co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed papers and serves on the editorial board of Communications in Cytometry and Journal of Clinical Virology.

Jennifer (Fluder) Siler, MBA - Jennifer (Fluder) Siler currently serves as the vice president of Global Community Engagement and leads Boost, a global community where immunization professionals connect, learn and lead. Before Sabin, Jennifer served as the Innovation Team lead and senior partnership advisor in the Global Health Bureau at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She led USAID's innovation investments in the Ebola and Zika crises, launched one-of-a-kind partnerships with Facebook, GlaxoSmithKline and DuPont, and developed multi-donor strategy and community of practice for unmanned aerial systems in global health. Jennifer has also worked at two national healthcare nonprofits in development and strategy, focusing on program development for patients and donors, as well at Edelman PR in brand experience and corporate social responsibility for private sector companies. She has pursued several global health fellowships in Kenya, South Africa and India with Innovations in Healthcare, OperationASHA, Jacaranda Maternal Health and Ubuntu. Jennifer has a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business specializing in social entrepreneurship in global health.

Lavanya Vasudevan, PhD - Lavanya Vasudevan, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Global Health Institute at Duke University. She is also a member of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and a faculty affiliate with the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research and the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health. Her research focuses on studying the timeliness of vaccinations, identifying vaccination barriers, and understanding the role of misinformation in driving vaccine hesitancy. In addition, she works on developing and evaluating novel interventions, including those that leverage digital health technologies, for health information or service delivery. In her research, Dr. Vasudevan seeks to study and alleviate the complex challenges with vaccination delivery and uptake in low resource settings and in populations experiencing health disparities. In the context of these challenges, Dr. Vasudevan is interested in the use of multidisciplinary collaborations, mixed methods and implementation science frameworks. Dr. Vasudevan has led or collaborated on studies funded by the National Institutes for Health, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Vasudevan is a recipient of the Duke Clinical and Translational Sciences KL2 Research and Career Development Award. She has received several honors including induction in the Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health and the Triangle Global Health Consortium’s Ward Cates Emerging Leader in Global Health award. Dr. Vasudevan completed her doctoral training in molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University and received her Master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Vasudevan is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

Muhammad Pate, M.D. - Muhammad Ali Pate is the Global Director, Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Global Practice of the World Bank and the Director of Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), based in Washington DC. Dr. Pate was until recently the Chief Executive Officer of Big Win Philanthropy, based in the UK, and prior to that held several senior positions, including that of Minister of State for Health in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was previously in the World Bank Group where he joined as a Young Professional in 2000 and worked on health issues in several regions including Africa and the East Asia and Pacific. Dr. Pate is an MD trained in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, with an MBA from Duke University. Prior to this he studied at the University College London. He also has a Masters in Health System Management from the London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine, UK.

About the "Global Challenges and the COVID Vaccine" Series

The development of safe and effective vaccines to protect against COVID-19 offers the brightest hope of ending a pandemic that has dramatically impacted the world. But many questions remain about how vaccines will be allocated, distributed, administered and accepted in countries of all income levels. This monthly webinar series will share global perspectives on these challenges and offer timely assessment of progress in the campaign to vaccinate people around the world.

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