Amid the push to maximize COVID-19 vaccine take-up around the world, Facebook has announced that it's partnering with a range of leading technology, healthcare and academic institutions to establish a new 'Alliance for Advancing Health Online', which aims to improve public understanding of how social media and behavioral sciences can be utilized to improve the health of communities around the world.
Among the other groups taking part in the initiative are the CDC Foundation, Merck, the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Merck and Facebook will each commit $20 million in funding to the multi-year program.
As you can see in the above video, the Alliance will initially focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy, and ensuring vaccine equity among underserved communities. Facebook already has a range of promotional tools and initiatives in place for this, while its association with the new group will provide more in-depth research into how to best use behavioral science, social media and digital platforms to build confidence in and access to vaccines.
"Together with partners, we’ve seen promising results from our health work over the past few years. This highlights the Alliance’s opportunity to better understand what’s working, so it can be replicated and scaled. All of the findings generated through this research will be shared quickly, broadly and publicly."
Maximizing vaccine take-up is a key focus right now, particularly as resurgences of the virus continue to take hold in various regions, leading to ongoing lockdowns and disruption. The best way to get things back to normal is to ensure that people are getting the vaccine when they're able, and this new initiative will focus on not only boosting initial take-up, but also providing broader understanding of the key elements that will help to maximize similar campaigns and health promotion efforts on future.
The Alliance will award a range of grants to advance this effort, starting with programs with the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Bay Area Global Health Alliance, who will each facilitate a series of community discussions over the coming months.