JITSUVAX is an EU Horizon 2020 funded project coordinated by the University of Bristol working with five other EU institutions as well as one in Canada. The project will run from May 2021 until April 2025.
Vaccine hesitancy, the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services, has been cited as a serious threat to global health by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has also identified Health Care Professionals (HCPs) as the most trusted influencers of vaccination decisions. JITSUVAX leverages those insights to turn toxic misinformation into a potential asset based on two premises. Firstly that the best way to acquire knowledge and to combat misperceptions is by employing misinformation itself, either in weakened doses as a cognitive “vaccine”, or through thorough analysis of misinformation during “refutational learning”, and secondly that HCPs form the critical link between vaccination policies and vaccine uptake. The principal objective of JITSUVAX is therefore to leverage misinformation about vaccinations into an opportunity by training HCPs through inoculation and refutational learning, thereby neutralizing misinformation among HCPs and enabling them to communicate more effectively with patients.
The study is led by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist based at the University of Bristol. The study team consists of psychologists, behavioral scientists, epidemiologists, health communication specialists and clinicians. All have expertise in vaccine hesitancy.
The individual groups are based at the University of Bristol and the University of Cambridge in the UK, the Turun yliopisto in Finland, the L'Observatoire Régional de la Santé in France, the Universität Erfurt in Germany, theUniversidade de Coimbra in Portugal and the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada.