Thursday, October 21, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out and Confidence 

On Day 3, find out how to apply the skills and lessons you have learned on Days 1 and 2 to the specific challenges using COVID-19 vaccine roll-out as a use case. Explore and understand how new approaches to engagement with civil society can strengthen and protect existing health systems against shock–and why it is crucial to understand behaviors and social norms to overcome, for example, hesitancy and boost vaccine confidence.  


8:00 AM – 10:00 AM (EDT): The Role of Civil Society in Strengthening Health Systems 

Lead: CORE Group Systems for Health (S4H) Working Group


Kamden Hoffmann, Technical Director, Social and Behavior Change, Corus International

Rhonda Holloway, Senior Technical Advisor, Health and Nutrition, Food for the Hungry  

Shefa Sikder, Senior Technical Advisor, CARE


Dennis Cherian, IMA World Health/Corus International and Co-Chair, CORE Group Board of Directors

Nilufar Rakhmanova, FHI 360  

Laura Altobelli, Research Professor, Future Generations 


This session will highlight across different contextual and geographical settings the lessons learned in health systems strengthening during the onset and continuation of COVID-19 pandemic. It will focus on local engagement of organizations, innovative technologies, and how these types of activities contributed to health systems resilience. Participants will have the opportunity to explore with the speakers and moderators the facilitators and challenges faced and share their own experiences as well. 


  • Strengthening national and regional Christian health care networks response to COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia – Dennis Cherian, IMA World Health/Corus International 
  • Community organization for COVID-mitigation and control in Peru during COVID-19 – Laura Altobelli, Future Generations
  • Systems approach and adoption of digital technology in the time of COVID 19 – Nilufar Rakhmanova FHI 360

Session Objectives:

  • Share lessons learned in health systems strengthening in COVID-19 context.  
  • Strengthen capacity of practitioners to implement health systems strengthening approaches during shocks and stresses such as the current pandemic

10:15 AM – 12:15 PM (EDT): Theoretical Foundations and Practical Skills to Address COVID-19 with a Focus on Inclusive Vaccine Access

Leads: CORE Group Social and Behavior Change (SBC) Working Group and Disability Inclusive Health Technical Advisory Group (DIH TAG)


Susan Igras, MPH, Senior Technical Advisor, Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health  

Tom Davis, MPH, Global Sector Lead for Health & Nutrition, World Vision International  

Adugna Kebede Yimam, (MD, MPH), World Vision International

Part 1 Social Norms and COVID-19

Overview: The first part of the session will review critical emerging work in the area of social norms, including how they apply to COVID behaviors. Using a norms-analytical lens and experiences and evaluations conducted under the Passages Project in Mali, DRC, Uganda, and India, Part 1 will highlight how norms-frameworks can be valuable in battling the global pandemic. 

Part 2 Behavioral and Social Drivers of COVID Prevention Actions 

Overview: The second part of the session will provide an overview of Barrier Analysis, the WHO Behavioural and Social Drivers (BeSD) tools, and other evidence-based tools and interventions for understanding and boosting COVID-19 vaccine acceptance, including some of the recommended messages and activities given the common determinants emerging from formative research. We will also briefly explain a new intervention to boost mask uptake called NORMalize.   

Session Objectives:  

  • Understand how social norms broadly impact behavior change, including the specific impact of social norms seen in COVID-19 behaviors.  
  • Identify and understand vetted tools being used to address COVID-19 behavior change.  
  • Become familiar with early evidence on barriers and facilitators to COVID-19 preventive behaviors (e.g., vaccine acceptance and mask wearing).  


Laura McGough, Senior Technical Advisor, URC 

Rachel Chaikof, Manager, Chemonics 

Part 3

Overview: People with disabilities are at greater risk of severe complications or dying of COVID-19 than those without disabilities. Despite their greater vulnerability, countries and health systems have not systematically prioritized people with disabilities for vaccination, nor made efforts to ensure that people with disabilities can access vaccination. Stigma and discrimination as well as lack of accessible transportation, financial means and/or assistive devices are among the reasons why many persons with disabilities do not have access to vaccines. Another challenge is vaccine hesitancy. Social and behavior change messages need to be developed to target people with disabilities. To achieve high levels of population coverage and protect the most vulnerable, persons with disabilities must be included and involved in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. This hands-on session will give participants the opportunity to develop action plans to improve access to vaccines for people with disabilities.  

Session Objectives:  

  • Understand the importance of developing plans to include people with disabilities in COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
  • Become familiar with the WHO/UNICEF Policy Brief, Disability Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccination.
  • Understand practical steps to take to improve access for people with disabilities, whether you work for Ministries of Health, disability advocacy organizations, health NGOs, service providers at facilities, etc.  
  • Develop an understanding of the importance of addressing low vaccine confidence among people with disabilities as part of the overall communications for social and behavior change (SBCC) strategy.