Cultivating Online Safe Spaces: Addressing unspoken hesitancy to build vaccine confidence in healthcare workers in Belgium

Project Details


Healthcare workers (HCW) are both priority groups for vaccinations and among the most influential in layperson's vaccine decisions. Yet considerable vaccine hesitancy has been reported among HCW internationally, including in Belgium. Our Transvaxx project, which investigates the challenges to an effective acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination in Belgium, found that hesitant HCW often do not voice their concerns to peers due to institutional and societal pressures to vaccinate, a phenomenon that we conceptualize as unspoken hesitancy. HCW experiencing unspoken hesitancy may have difficulties in surpassing their concerns and therefore in building vaccine confidence for themselves as well as for their patients.
We propose to address unspoken hesitancy in the Flemish-speaking Flanders region and the primarily French, Flemish and English-speaking Brussels region in Belgium. We will focus our sampling on HCW profiles with low vaccine uptake whose members also predominantly belong to historically marginalized groups.
We will conduct a hybrid social listening by bringing together online and offline vaccine concerns. Alongside participating HCW, we will co-create an online safe space where vaccine concerns of HCW can be discussed between peers and with the assistance of a multidisciplinary team of researchers. The intervention will be documented through implementation research methods and its impact evaluated using mixed methods.
Moving away from misinformation control and correction, our listening and dialogue driven method could be scaled and reapplied to other settings. It proposes to use social media as an innovative tool to build vaccine confidence and more broadly, societal resilience.
AcronymVCF Unspoken
Effective start/end date23/09/2128/02/22


  • Global Impact: €192,746.13


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