| News

Training vaccine champions in Vietnam

Vaccine communication experts from Australia recently travelled to Vietnam to deliver a vaccine communication training and capacity building program to support the continued COVID-19 vaccination efforts in our region. 

As part of Australia’s Expert Technical Assistance Program for Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Access: Policy, Planning and Implementation (AETAP-PPI) funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign and Affairs trade (DFAT), countries have access to request technical assistance from Australian immunisation experts. 

ARIA partners Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) worked closely with the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Vietnam Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Vietnam in co-designing a multilevel ‘train the trainers (TOT)’ program. The TOT was a significantly expanded version of the “Vaccine Champions program”, originally developed by MCRI with the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, which trains community leaders to advocate for COVID-19 and routine childhood vaccines in their local communities. 

The Vietnamese training took place in Dien Bien and Gia Lai provinces in Northern and Central Vietnam. The MCRI team co-facilitated the one-day Level 1 TOT with Vietnamese master trainers who had communication and immunisation expertise. The Level 1 TOT trained 52 provincial trainers from 14 provinces in Dien Bien and 44 provincial trainers from 11 provinces in Gia Lai. In Dien Bien, 4 provincial trainers went on to deliver Level 2 training for 32 vaccine champions from diverse backgrounds representing community leaders, village heads, teachers, and commune health workers. Following the training, vaccine champions organised Level 3 community sessions to improve public confidence in vaccines and improve vaccine uptake in their local community. 

In the coming months, another Level 1 TOT will be held to train 40 provincial trainers from 10 Southern provinces in Soc Trang. Provincial trainers from Dien Bien, Gia Lai and Soc Trang will be supported by UNICEF and the government to undertake further Level 2 sessions to train vaccine champions with technical support from MCRI and Woolcock.

The original Vaccine Champions Training Program has so far been successfully delivered in the Australian state of Victoria, and also in Fiji with hopes to expand to two other countries in the Pacific region in the coming year.  

In addition to the vaccine training program, Australian partners are supporting development of the COVID-19 vaccine communication plan for Vietnam, in partnership with UNICEF Vietnam. 

If you would like to know more about this work, you can contact the project team through the ARIA Secretariat. 

In top image: Newly trained Provisional Trainers pictured here with Australian colleagues (source: supplied)