To help boost the roll-out of vaccines, researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Sydney Vietnam Institute and National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) recently visited Vietnam to champion vaccine uptake.

Following a successful program in Fiji, the Murdoch Children’s Vaccine Champions initiative partnered with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, UNICEF Vietnam and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research to deliver two regional training sessions for 25 provinces in the Southeast Asian country.

Murdoch Children’s Dr Jessica Kaufman and Belle Overmars facilitated the training with Vietnamese Master Trainers, which was provided to health workers, representatives of women's union and youth union, community leaders, and some ethnic minorities from the northern mountain region of Vietnam.

The aim of the program is to increase COVID-19 and routine vaccine (including vaccination against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles and tuberculosis) uptake in the region.

The multilevel Vaccine Champions program in Vietnam, co-designed by Professor Margie Danchin, Dr Kaufman and Ms Overmars alongside local stakeholders, was initiated in Victoria at the start of 2021 in collaboration with the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and uptake of routine immunisation.

The program has been expanded to Fiji and Vietnam, and will soon be rolled out in two other Pacific Island countries, to train community leaders to become vaccination advocates in these regions.

Dr Kaufman said the program not only provided multilevel, fully translated training sessions for provincial trainers and community ‘Vaccine Champions,’ but it also provides continued support to them as they deliver vaccine information sessions to their communities.

The Vietnam Vaccine Champions program is supported by  the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).