Below is a list of some research studies underway at VACFA:
Innovations to strengthen immunization programs: The aim of this study is to identify innovative solutions in the vaccine space. A systematic review as well as telephonic/face to face interviews are the methods used in this study. Results from this study will help us identify effective innovative interventions that can strengthen immunization programs, particularly in the low and middle income countries. Read more
Vaccination strategies against pertussis- a modelling study: Using mathematical modelling techniques, this study is exploring the impacts of different vaccination strategies as well as a combination of the vaccination strategies on the epidemiology of pertussis in low and middle income countries. A model specific to South Africa will also be developed and tested.
Adverse events following immunization with whole cell (wP) and acellular (aP) pertussis vaccines: Many high income countries have already switched from the use of wP to aP vaccines in the routine immunization. Majority of low income countries are still using wP vaccines. Synthesized comparisons of adverse events following aP or wP immunizations are missing. This study is systematically assessing and comparing the reported adverse events following primary and secondary administration of aP or wP vaccines. The manuscript arising from this work has been submitted for publication.
Adolescents' immunization: In many countries, especially in Africa, there are no structured national platforms to immunize adolescents. Therefore, uptake of recommended routine adolescents' booster vaccines such as against tetanus and pertussis is very low. In addition, there are newer vaccines such as one against HPV that targets pre-adolescents and adolescents population. The adolescents' immunization study is aimed at investigating two aspects:
(a) The level of Knowledge, Attitude & Practises (KAP) among adolescents and caregivers. In some settings, KAP could influence uptake of vaccines. We conducted a qualitative and quantitative systematic review on KAP towards adolescent vaccination among parents, teachers and adolescents in Africa. Our results identified gaps in KAP that may be addressed to improve vaccine uptake among adolescents.
(b) There are reports suggesting adolescents' immunization is suboptimal in many settings. We are evaluating effective strategies that can be adopted to improve vaccine uptake among the adolescents population. Such strategies will not only improve uptake of current vaccines among adolescents, but also, likely to increase uptake of future vaccines against TB and HIV that may target adolescents as the main population group.
Vaccination and HIV infection: Safety and effectiveness of vaccines are cornerstones of building public trust on the use of these cost-effective and life-saving public health interventions. In some settings, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a high prevalence of HIV infection and a high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases. There is evidence suggesting that the immunity induced by some commonly used vaccines is not durable in HIV-infected persons, and therefore, repeated vaccination among other possible strategies may be considered to ensure optimal vaccine-induced immunity in HIV infected persons. We are conducting a systematic review to evaluate the safety of licenced vaccines when administered to HIV infected persons. An additional focus of this study is to assess the feasible strategies that can be used to improve vaccine-induced protective immunity among HIV-infected persons.
Vaccine hesitancy in Africa: Many countries in Africa have not attained an optimal vaccination coverage. There are multiple reasons thought to prevent African countries from achieving an optimal vaccination coverage rate and vaccine hesitancy is one of the reasons. Vaccine hesitancy broadly refers to a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines where the immunization services are available. Many factors influence vaccine hesitancy, among them, geographical setting. Vaccine hesitancy is not well characterized in Africa. Understanding the factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy in Africa is crucial in the development of strategies to address refusal of vaccination in the continent.
Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs): Uptake of vaccines delivered through routine immunization programmes remains variable, and often poor in many low and middle income countries. Therefore, routine immunization services alone appears to be insufficient in achieving optimal immunization coverage in LMICs. We are conducting a systematic review to determine if SIAs are feasible strategies to improve vaccine uptake in LMICs. SIAs have been successfully used in different disease conditions, including typhoid, measles, polio, human papillomavirus and cholera.
Page created on 26 August 2016
Page last updated on 23 Feb 2018
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Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA)
Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine (IDM)
Wernher & Beit North Wing, Room N2.09A
University of Cape Town
Faculty of Health Sciences
Observatory, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa