Vaccine Hesitancy

4 March 2021 1.50pm – 4.30pm Webinar

Event Overview

This free webinar will explore what makes immunisation acceptable in society and the factors that either drive or hinder vaccine up take.  

Vaccine hesitancy is currently considered to be a major threat to global health. Falling vaccine coverage threatens the ability of immunisation to offer herd protection and to reduce the use or misuse of antibiotics. During 2020 this subject has assumed a particular importance with the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines.   


Registration is free and open to non-members and members.

Who will be interested in this event?

General public advisors, science communicators, writers and media. Clinical, public health and academic microbiologists. Psychologists and social scientists.


13:50   Introduction

14:00   Vaccine hesitancy: a global problem, Dr Pauline Paterson, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

14:20   Ensuring vaccine safety, Dr Caroline Vipond, National Institute for Biological Standard and Control (NIBSC)

14:40   From the child perspective, Professor Helen Bedford, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

15:00   Break

15:10   Psychology of why people embrace scientific messages about vaccines, Professor Matthew Hornsey, University of Queensland

15:30   How perceptions of medical racism drives vaccine hesitancy, Dr Winston Morgan, University of East London

15:50   Panel discussion/audience Q&A


Dr Pauline Paterson, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK

Pauline is co-director of The Vaccine Confidence Project team.

Pauline has researched issues of public confidence in immunisations since 2010. Specific research activities include qualitative analysis of parental reasons for not vaccinating their child with influenza vaccine in England, analysis of concerns surrounding HPV vaccine in India and Japan, and a systematic review on public trust in vaccination.

Pauline is a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Immunisation in partnership with Public Health England.

Pauline has a PhD in Epidemiology, an MBA, and an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London. The MBA project consisted of two systematic reviews and a case study in Thailand, in collaboration with WHO, exploring health system preparedness to changes in malaria and dengue fever epidemiology as a result of climate change.

Dr Caroline Vipond, National Institute for Biological Standard and Control (NIBSC), UK

Caroline is a Senior Scientist in the Meningococcal and Pneumococcal laboratory at NIBSC and is responsible for the release of meningococcal polysaccharide and protein-based vaccines.

Her primary research interests are on meningococcal protein-based vaccines, characterization of complex products with a focus on developing assays to effectively measure vaccine potency and safety with a view to using non-animal models.

In addition, Caroline oversees the panel of meningococcal reference material, including a panel of typing monoclonal antibodies, ELISA reagents and production of WHO international standards.

Caroline obtained her PhD from Imperial College London in 2010 in the field of outer membrane vesicle and degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Bath in 1999. 

Caroline is the chair of the Meningitis Now Charity’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Panel.

Professor Helen Bedford, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, UK

Helen has a background as a nurse and health visitor. After gaining her MSc at Kings College London, she joined the Institute of Child Health in 1986 to work on the National Immunisation study with Professor Catherine Peckham and Dr Yvonne Senturia.

This large national study investigated professionals' and parents' knowledge of and attitudes to measles and pertussis vaccine at a time when uptake of these two vaccines was poor.

Helen's PhD was a study of the long term consequences of bacterial meningitis in childhood. In this study over 1700 children who had suffered meningitis in their first year of life were followed up along with matched controls at the age of five years.

As well as conducting primary research into the determinants of vaccine uptake, Helen has written and advised on the content of papers and articles on immunisation for a wide range of publications including scientific journals, women's magazines and newspapers. She often communicates directly with the public as well as with health professionals about the benefits and risks of immunisation. She is frequently interviewed for the TV, radio and other media about issues related to immunisation and works closely with the Science Media Centre on vaccine issues.

Professor Matthew Hornsey, School of Business, The University of Queensland, Australia

Since graduating in 1999 Matthew has published over 130 papers, and in 2018 was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Scientists in Australia.

A problem that Matthew has examined throughout his career is: “Why do people resist apparently reasonable messages?” Matthew focuses on the psychology of how feelings of mistrust and threat can lead people to reject messages. These insights are then translated into concrete and do-able strategies for overcoming defensiveness. Specific examples include ARC-funded research on (1) why people embrace or resist scientific messages about climate change, vaccination, evolution, and so forth, (2) how people respond to gestures of reconciliation from transgressor groups (particularly apologies), and (3) what drives defensiveness in the face of group criticism and recommendations for change.

Dr Winston Morgan, Medicines Research Group, University of East London, UK

Winston is a Reader in Toxicology and Clinical Biochemistry, he teaches on several programmes from level 4-7 in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Biochemical Science and Medical Physiology. 

Winston Morgan splits his research and scholarly activity between bioscience research and research into the outcomes for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Students and Staff in Higher Education. Winston Morgan also researches factors which contributes to poorer medical outcomes of individuals and groups on the basis of race and ethnicity.