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Inaugural Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN) Annual Conference

Call for Papers

The #VARN2022 call for papers is now closed. Thank you for your interest!

Deadline for Submissions: December 15, 2021

Decision Notification: January 31, 2022

Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Vaccine Acceptance and Demand program is actively building a multidisciplinary, global network referred to as the Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN). The essence of VARN is to foster social and behavioral science research collaborations that drive action-oriented solutions to improve vaccine acceptance and vaccination uptake in the Global South. Sabin and the VARN leadership committee will host an Inaugural VARN Conference. This inaugural meeting will be a space for exploration and sharing of selected research results. It will enact and facilitate the wide dissemination of a growing body of knowledge and evidence-informed strategies for action. This open conference (#VARN2022) will be held virtually — bringing together global experts, inclusive of global health professionals and policymakers, practitioners, and social and behavioral science researchers. A range of diverse and emerging areas of research will be presented by early-career researchers as well as established subject matter specialists.

We invite the submission of research-based papers which discuss social and behavioral science strategies supporting vaccine acceptance and vaccination uptake amongst diverse communities. Abstracts from the Global South will be prioritized. We especially welcome submissions, inclusive of case studies and intervention-based research, exploring vaccination amongst marginalized communities acutely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as approaches that consider the role of social media and strategies for combating its infodemic. Submissions will shape and facilitate presentations and panel discussions designed to inform the real-time challenges and efforts of local, national, regional, and global community actors in attendance.

Further Context

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights how a complex interplay of social, political, and historical events shape vaccination outcomes from the global-to-local levels. While experts tackle essential public and global health work researching and modeling COVID-19, the social and behavioral dimensions of the pandemic — such as those that affect vaccination acceptance and uptake — require further exploration to better inform public health programming to reach at-risk communities. There is a need for cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary studies that provide critical and contextualized perspectives for optimizing vaccination outcomes in settings throughout the Global North and South.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its infodemic have brought to the forefront many under-addressed questions as to how complex social and behavioral dynamics impact vaccination. How do public, private and civil society sector actors involved in vaccination campaigns and pandemic response both drive and impede vaccination outcomes? What is the trauma legacy of past pandemics and vaccination campaign efforts on COVID-19 vaccination? How do public and community trust dynamics impact vaccination outcomes? How do communities acquire and share health-related information and how can these platforms be leveraged to support vaccine acceptance?

Important dates

  • Abstract submission: December 15, 2021 (firm deadline, no extension)
  • Decision notification: January 31, 2022
  • Full paper submission: February 15, 2022
  • Tentative conference date(s): March 1-3, 2022

The VARN leadership and Conference Planning Committee will conduct the peer-review process. Papers will be selected for inclusion into the conference panels based on novelty of approaches reviewed and potential impact on the field.

The above dates, apart from the firm deadlines, are tentative and subject to change. Please consult the VARN website for the most up-to-date scheduling information:


We invite you to submit an abstract of up to 500 words, which should not contain references nor unexplained acronyms. The abstract should be a concise, standalone piece; and must include the following sections: an introduction expressing the theoretical and empirical basis for the paper, as well as specific research question(s); methodology; results; and conclusion and/or recommendations which contribute toward the significance of the research to the topic of vaccine acceptance and vaccination uptake. Additional information to be included, outside of the allotted word count is: title of paper; investigator name(s), contact information and professional title and affiliation(s).

All abstracts are to be submitted to the WizeHive portal by December 15, 2021.  By clicking Sign Up, you will be prompted to enter your email address and create a password. Once you have chosen your password, your account will be created, and you will gain access to the portal.

Authors will receive the final status of their application on the Decision Notification date, and if accepted, further instructions on how to prepare and submit a final paper version by the paper submission date will be provided. Authors of accepted abstracts are required to present their work in a scheduled session with other VARN-2022 papers.

Any questions regarding abstract submission can be addressed to:

Conference Organizers:

  • Kate Hopkins, PhD, MPH, Sabin Vaccine Institute, USA
  • Stacey Knobler, MPH, MSc, Sabin Vaccine Institute, USA
  • Ève Dubé, PhD, VARN Chair, Quebec National Institute of Public Health, Canada

VARN Conference Planning Committee members:

  • Baldeep Dhaliwal, MSPH, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Momin Kazi, PhD candidate, MBBS, MPH Aga Khan University, Pakistan
  • Freddy Eric Kitutu, PhD, Sustainable Pharmaceutical Systems Unit, School of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Rupali Limaye, PhD, MPH, MA, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Rubina Qasim, MSc, Institute of Nursing, Dow University of Health Sciences, Pakistan
  • Holly Seale, PhD, MPH, School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Australia

About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation. Unlocking the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has built a robust ecosystem of funders, innovators, implementers, practitioners, policy makers and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free from preventable diseases. As a non-profit with more than two decades of experience, Sabin is committed to finding solutions that last and extending the full benefits of vaccines to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world.