UCLA and AUA Host a COVID-19 Vaccination Webinar

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The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health, in collaboration with the American University of Armenia (AUA) Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH), hosted a webinar titled “COVID-19 Vaccination: A Global Perspective” for epidemiologists, policymakers, and the larger public health community in the Republic of Armenia. The webinar aimed to share expert knowledge, prepare participants for communicating with the public reliable information on COVID-19 vaccines, and discuss messaging about COVID-19 vaccination in Armenia.

The webinar was co-led by Dr. Alina Dorian, associate dean of Public Health Practice and associate professor at the Fielding School of Public Health, and Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, SPH dean. The featured speaker was Dr. Shira Shafir, infectious disease epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences and Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Shafir presented the global picture of COVID-19 vaccination and then dived into the different COVID-19 vaccines offered in Armenia. She also engaged the audience in conversations around vaccination safety, information and misinformation, and the need for effective and inclusive communication with all sectors of the population.

The event brought together more than 100 attendees from the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia (RA), and other health agencies in Armenia.

The webinar was organized as part of the National Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Program for the Republic of Armenia, a collaborative initiative among the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, AUA SPH, the Ministry of Health, and the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Armenia. The Program aims to enhance the surge capacity of Armenia’s existing public health system and to help limit the spread and adverse effects of COVID-19 in Armenia. It also includes professional development training opportunities and continuous education, as well as support for Armenia’s public health sector in collaboration with partner agencies and other associated sectors. As part of this initiative, the UCLA and AUA teams have been working closely with the RA Ministry of Health and NCDC to support the establishment of a Call Center and a Public Health Emergency Operations Center. The program helps raise public awareness on COVID-19 and preventive measures and ultimately addresses the overall current and future public health needs of the country.

The UCLA and AUA teams are committed to continuing ongoing training and scaling up the program in an effort to help Armenia address not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also prepare the country for a resilient future. This initiative is one of the many projects under the umbrella of the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA, which aims to address the needs of Armenia and ensure the health and safety of the population.

The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.