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Sabin's Vaccine Acceptance & Demand Initiative

The Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN)

The Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN) is an entity for global leadership in the application and advancement of social and behavioral science insights, research and expertise. Participating members meet to discuss and address socio-behavioral approaches to vaccination research, identify gaps in existing research and opportunities for new interdisciplinary research and work collaboratively to address vaccine acceptance in low- and middle-income country settings. Members include multidisciplinary academic researchers, stemming from the social and behavioral science fields, global health, global health practitioners and Sabin’s Social and Behavioral Research Grant Program partners. Drawing from multiple disciplines, VARN participants link social and behavioral research insights with programming and policy by:

  • Analyzing vaccination topics from various theoretical and methodological approaches to guide the design of solutions around vaccination acceptance and demand
  • Sharing knowledge, research, and papers through VARN convened-events
  • Serving on working groups to collaboratively approach vaccination challenges
  • Co-authoring working group papers and other materials for the Resource Hub
  • Setting research agendas to move the field(s) forward

The network’s strengths include access to research experts from multiple disciplines and geographic regions, a strong connection to national immunization program managers and global health policy makers, and the ability to bring relevant expertise and experience to vaccination acceptance topics.

Funding to support VARN operation and management is provided by the Sabin Vaccine Institute through a private philanthropic grant.

Join Our Network

The VARN is a global, multidisciplinary community of experts from the social and behavioral sciences and global health field collectively working to better understand and problem solve vaccination-related topics impacting acceptance and demand. We are always looking to engage more thinkers in this space and incorporate new members. Complete the form below to participate with and received updates from the network.

Social and Behavioral Research Grants Program

The Social and Behavioral Research Grants Program provides funding to researchers and implementers from interdisciplinary fields exploring vaccine acceptance amongst communities in low- and middle-income country settings. Through this program, Sabin encourages collaborative local partnerships between academic researchers, health officials and local communities. Grant partners conduct innovative research projects that utilize appropriate and rigorous methods to illuminate the social and behavioral dimensions of vaccination at multiple levels and then examine potential solutions to address those dimensions. Grant partners have the opportunity to build relationships and have impactful conversations about their work and its potential application to immunization programming through the VARN, as well as by writing for the Resource Hub.

The 2021 grant program is currently accepting applications. Sabin will fund projects to conduct research and implement solutions for up to 12 months beginning in September 2021. Awards will be made up to $50,000, dependent upon the project’s proposed budget. Applications are due July 5.

Past Grant Recipients

Most recently, Sabin received 119 proposals representing 36 countries for the 2020 grant cycle. Sabin awarded grants of up to $30,000 to five research teams to explore the social and behavioral drivers of COVID-19 misinformation, and its impact on routine immunization and the acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine. The research teams from India, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda are conducting their research virtually to ensure the safety of the research teams and the communities with which they work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the 2019 grant cycle, Sabin received more than 50 proposals representing 32 countries. Sabin awarded grants of $24,000 each to research teams from Uganda, India and Sierra Leone to research, design and pilot a research project and community-level intervention. Each research project contributed to our understanding of the social and behavioral drivers of vaccine acceptance across country and local-level contexts, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Grant partners’ research findings, detailing what drives individuals to accept vaccines in specific contexts, move us toward a global future free from preventable disease.

Explore our Resource Hub to learn more about Sabin’s grant partners.

External Review Committee

An External Review Committee of multidisciplinary experts will peer review eligible applications and advise Sabin on the selection of grant partners.



Write For Us

Are you interested in writing for the resource hub, or have you identified a useful resource to be included on the hub and/or gaps in knowledge that could inform our future content?