26 Jan, 2022, 05:00 ET
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Macro-Eyes announced today that it has been awarded a grant by the Vaccine Confidence Fund to build and test a novel machine learning system to predict local vaccine hesitancy among diverse communities in South Africa.
The Vaccine Confidence Fund (VCF) is the flagship program of the Alliance for Advancing Health Online (AAHO), whose members include the CDC Foundation, the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Bank, Merck & Co., and Facebook. VCF is comprised of members from the technology, health, global development, and academic sectors who have joined forces to advance public understanding of how social media can be utilized to better understand the health and resiliency of communities around the world, and to increase vaccination confidence and uptake.
"Building confidence in vaccination is critical to reducing vaccine hesitancy, which threatens to stall and even reverse progress made in combating vaccine-preventable diseases worldwide," said John H. Markels, President, Merck Vaccines. "It is our hope that insights shared from these novel research efforts will support innovative solutions that increase the positive impact of accurate, scientifically based information, improving resilient and sustainable immunization programs worldwide."
Selected from a competitive pool of over 300 entries representing a diverse mix of geographies, organizations, and research topics submitted to the VCF and managed by Global Impact, Macro-Eyes is among the 33 selected grantees who will bring new insights on COVID-19 and routine immunization and investigate the connection between social media and vaccine uptake in communities.
"Supporting the public health efforts to increase vaccine confidence has been our top priority," said KX Jin, Facebook's Head of Health. "We're looking forward to building on this work with the innovative approaches that will come from the newly selected grantees to advance our collective understanding of how social media platforms can be leveraged for positive health and increase the health and resiliency of communities around the world."
With nearly a decade of experience developing tools and technology that predict demand for health services such as immunisation, Macro-Eyes will draw data from social media to build and test a machine learning system that predicts local vaccine hesitancy in Western Cape Province, South Africa. The goal is that these predictions equip the health system with actionable insights on where to prioritize allocation of vaccines and target resources to communities where behavioral interventions are needed before doses are sent.
"Vaccine hesitancy poses a significant global risk," says Macro-Eyes CEO Benjamin Thelonious Fels. "Macro-Eyes' machine learning system will predict hyper-local vaccine hesitancy in South Africa, allowing health system managers and vaccine administrators to allocate vaccines to communities with higher uptake while precision targeting resources to areas requiring behavioral interventions. Ultimately, our technology will help differentiate low vaccine uptake into where and when it's a vaccine hesitancy issue and where the issue is one of access to lifesaving vaccines."
For more information, please visit vaccineconfidencefund.org and read their full press release here.
About the Vaccine Confidence Fund
The Vaccine Confidence Fund, financially supported by Facebook and Merck & Co , is the first flagship program of the Alliance for Advancing Health Online (AAHO). The AAHO's mission is to bring together members from the technology, health, global development and academic sectors to advance public understanding of how social media and other online platforms can be leveraged to increase vaccination confidence and vaccine uptake.
The Alliance members currently include the CDC Foundation, Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, World Bank, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Facebook, and Merck & Co.
Macro-Eyes is a technology company focused on making crucial systems predictive. Predictive systems are resilient, enabling our customers to save lives and extend the impact of scarce resources. We work in environments with little conventional data (sometimes none at all) and with some of the most sophisticated users of technology in the world. Our machine learning team, led by MIT Professor Dr. Suvrit Sra, has a rigorous commitment to science and is distributed across Africa, North America, and Europe.
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