Launch of the Report | Crisis Communications and Vaccine Uptake in Fragile African Settings
June 22, 2021
12:30 – 2:00 p.m. ET
This event was presented by the Columbia ISERP Center for Pandemic Research in partnership with The Academy of Political Science to release the report on the proceedings of the third colloquium of the History and Future of Planetary Threats series held on March 31, 2021. Panelists Tom Frieden, Chinwe Lucia Ochu, and Youssef Cherif, with co-moderators Wilmot James and Robert Y. Shapiro, reflected on the report’s critical lessons for crisis communications and vaccine uptake.
The challenges at this juncture are complex. Looking ahead, panelists discussed effective methodologies for communicating COVID-19 risk to drive distribution and uptake of vaccines in fragile state settings—whether due to instability, post war conditions, or internal strife.
As the COVID-19 vaccine campaign moves worldwide, innovative approaches to vaccine campaigns are needed. Vaccines cannot displace public health and social measures. Communications must be tailored to the audience, and calibrated to context, country, and culture. Inspired by research on the COVID-19 pandemic response in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa at the ISERP Center for Pandemic Research funded by Schmidt Futures, this colloquium and report endeavors to shed light on the ongoing resistance to COVID-19 and the broader aim to save lives.
In the History and Future of Planetary Threats series, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) convenes meetings to examine modern-day catastrophic risks and hazards, whether natural, accident or deliberate, in the following domains: geological, biological, epidemic infectious disease, environmental, chemical, extreme weather, food security, radiological and nuclear, or combinations of these. By catastrophic we understand to mean classes of events that could lead to sudden, extraordinary, widespread disaster beyond the collective capacity of national and international organizations and the private sector to control, causing severe disruptions in normal social functioning, heavy tolls in terms of morbidity and mortality, and major economic losses; in sum, events that may well cause a change in the direction of history. Nuclear falls into a class of its own, because it can result in the annihilation of life on planet earth and the end of history as we know it.
TOM FRIEDEN is a physician trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology. He is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. Dr. Frieden is currently President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies.
CHINWE LUCIA OCHU is a medical doctor with over 24 years’ experience as a clinician. Dr. Ochu currently works with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the Acting Director Prevention, Programmes & Knowledge Management and as the Head of Research.
YOUSSEF CHERIF is the director of the Columbia Global Centers | Tunis. He is a political analyst who specializes in North African affairs. He is a member of Carnegie's Civic Research Network and he contributes to a number of think-tanks.
WILMOT JAMES is Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), College of Arts and Sciences, and Associate Director of Program in Vaccine Education at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.
ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO is President of The Academy of Political Science and Editor of Political Science Quarterly. He is also the Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Center for Pandemic Research at the Institute for Social Research and Policy (ISERP)
Frontline Nurses: Center for the Study of Social Difference
Columbia University | School of Nursing
Columbia University |Program in Vaccine Education at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia Global Centers-Nairobi and Tunis
Columbia University| Earth Institute
The Academy of Political Science
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