Investigator Studies Program (MISP): Vaccination Confidence
Effective December 2021, the Merck Investigator Studies Program Review Committee (MISP-RC) for Vaccination Confidence will accept proposals within our current areas of interest (AOI) for the first review cycle until April 14, 2022. We will accept proposals for the second review cycle until September 14, 2022. This is a competitive review process that will be conducted by the Vaccination Confidence MISP Review Committee. Decisions will be made on the basis of scientific merit and strategic fit within the AOI. Please review the critical activities and abide by the timelines as outlined below. The program requests that investigators specify how they will support diversity in enrollment to include traditionally underrepresented minorities/ethnic groups.

The following areas are of interest to Investigator Studies Program Committee:

Focus Area 1: Resilient Immunization Programs

  • Research on reasons for missed opportunities for vaccination among defined population cohorts with access to vaccination services, e.g., the impact of national, state, or local‐level policies, vaccine mandates, reimbursement for vaccines and provider reimbursement for vaccine counseling or infrastructure factors and ethnic, cultural, religious, or other social and demographic factors that may contribute to vaccine refusal, hesitancy or missed vaccination.
  • Research on the contributing factors and attributes of resilient immunization programs and how learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic and other past challenges or crises can help programs be better prepared in the future
  • Research on the role of community-based vaccination programs that are delivered in settings other than the physician’s office and impacts on vaccine coverage rates and overall vaccination confidence.
  • Research on the impact of vaccination on overall public health and economic prosperity.

Focus area 2: Role of Health Care Provider in Building Confidence in Vaccination

  • Research on the effectiveness of novel and routinely used communication techniques in improving vaccine acceptance among hesitant individuals. This is not limited to face-to-face interactions with patients, as health care providers (HCPs) can also reach patients virtually and remotely.
  • Research on vaccine hesitancy attitudes, behaviors, and practice tendencies among HCPs, including physicians, nurses, and nurse assistants, dentists, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others. This can include research in vaccination confidence and techniques for improving it, as well as techniques to identify misinformation and strategies to remove HCP implicit bias, which can be taught in undergraduate curricula and in continuing education programs at conferences or other venues.
  • Research on the role physicians and other HCPs can play in addressing hesitancy through digital communications e.g., on social media platforms, anti-misinformation games, machine learning, etc., and the impact of professional license and certification board policies on the level of information that HCPs share through digital communication platforms.

Focus Area 3: Effective Interventions in Building Confidence in Vaccination

  • Research on the role and impact of media, digital platforms, including social media, blogs, innovative media platforms, other web-based forums, and traditional media (TV, Radio) on vaccination beliefs, attitudes, and uptakes, including lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of efforts to create a “culture of vaccination” within a given practice setting and/or research on where weak points within a setting (e.g., front desk staff) that are common sources for undermining other efforts (e.g., by provider) to instill confidence in vaccination.
  • Research on effective messaging and communications approaches by HCPs and office staff at all points of patient contact to improve health and vaccination equity and vaccine literacy and promote confidence and acceptance in vaccination in their patients.
  • Research on changes in behavior following compelling messaging through effective communication methods.

Focus Area 4: Vaccination Equity Research

  • Studies in populations who may be disproportionally affected by health disparities, or those with access issues.
  • Research on the prevalence of and reasons for vaccine hesitancy amongst groups who are underserved by health services and/or affected by health disparities
  • Research on interventions that seek to reduce disparities in access to vaccination services or utilization.
  • Research on measures of trust of vaccination information delivered by non-HCPs (e.g., clergy, community health workers, and others) and how this impacts confidence in vaccination and/or utilization of vaccination services amongst people affected by health disparities.
  • Research on how to measure, track and report trends in vaccination equity around the globe.

Focus Area 5: Using principles of implementation science to understand how, why, and among whom interventions can successfully increase confidence in vaccines and/or improve vaccine delivery

  • Research that examines the underlying factors driving the ability of evidence-based interventions to increase confidence in vaccination and/or improve vaccine delivery. Studies should focus on elucidating the mechanisms that are important for successfully implementing interventions and/or why interventions do or do not have their desired effect on increasing vaccine confidence or improving vaccine delivery.
  • Research on how alterations to previously unsuccessful interventions may increase confidence in vaccines or improve vaccine delivery.
  • Research on examples of good practice in specific communities that have overcome hesitancy and low vaccination uptake.
  • Development of novel measurement tools or implementation models that improve the understanding of the modifiable contextual factors (e.g., clinic operations, provider or patient misinformation or knowledge gaps, suboptimal communication strategies, etc.) affecting vaccine confidence.

Please complete a full protocol and detailed budget via Visiontracker, the Company's on-line study management system (in US) or your MSD country representative (outside US). The proposals will be collectively reviewed and selected by the Vaccination Confidence MISP Committee.

Critical Activities and Timelines:
Activity Review Cycle
Full Protocol Submission with Detailed Budget   (First Review Cycle) April 14, 2022
Target Final Comments to Investigator (First Review Cycle) June 20, 2022
Full Protocol Submission with Detailed Budget   (Second Review Cycle) September 14, 2022
Target Final Comments to Investigator (Second Review Cycle) November 21, 2022

MISP Information
This site is intended for US investigators only. Investigators outside of the US interested in submitting research proposals to the Investigator Studies Program should contact their local MSD office.