During the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists have needed to digest complex, and often unfamiliar, scientific and public health information to provide accurate and reliable reporting for their communities. They have also been tasked with combating the spread of dis- and misinformation, which the World Health Organization has identified as a priority for ensuring acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and controlling the pandemic.
Many communities across Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be hard-hit by COVID-19, largely due to a lack of equitable access to vaccines. In this context, the IWMF will develop and support a cohort of journalists from low and middle-income countries in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean with expertise in vaccines and immunization. Established with the support of the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Immunization Advocates program, this Initiative will allow the IWMF to provide journalists with learning, funding and mentoring opportunities to cover urgent issues, like vaccine acceptance and demand and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine is having on routine immunization programs.
The IWMF will select a total of 30 journalists to participate in our Global Health Reporting Initiative this year. From September to December 2021, our cohort will participate in a virtual course that will increase access to global and regional experts, trusted sources and evidence-based information on vaccines and immunization. Following the course, the IWMF will also provide cohort members with competitive grants, paired with mentoring from senior reporters, in order to support clear, comprehensive and factual reporting on vaccines and immunization. This Initiative will enable journalists to provide communities with essential information through accurate and timely reporting.