The Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) is an initiative of NCIRS and the University of Sydney. It was established in 2016 to better inform Australian immunisation policy and practice with high quality evidence from the social sciences by supporting capacity in research and evaluation, collaborations and translations.

The COSSI network is open to researchers, health care providers and postgraduate students working in in the social science of immunisation. If you are interested in networking, assistance in methodology, learning from what others are doing and accessing further research-related information.

    Subscribe to the mailing list & join COSSI HERE

    The network does not accept sponsorship from the pharmaceutical industry.

    COSSI committee

    COSSI is governed by a committee consisting of researchers and program staff that meet on a bi-monthly basis. 

    List of 2018–2020 COSSI committee members

    COSSI events

    COSSI webinar 22 June 2020: Risk communication - How can we best integrate social science into health emergency work to ensure effective risk communication?

    Risk communication is an integral part of any public health emergency response and it is vital to ensure that people at risk can understand the threat and adopt protective behaviours, without causing panic.

    In light of recent global measles outbreaks, COVID-19 and other infectious disease threats, COSSI hosted a webinar to discuss and understand what underpins effective risk communication and community engagement and how we can do this better in our own work and in our communities. 

    The webinar featured speakers who reflected on their own experiences in risk communication and engagement and shared how these strategies can be adopted in the future. 

    Professor Julie Leask, Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sydney Nursing School
    Julie set the scene, defined and discussed the foundations of risk communication and discussed how to communicate well in a crisis, with a focus on measles and COVID-19.

    Kristy Crooks, PhD Candidate and Aboriginal Program Manager at Hunter New England Local Health District 
    Kristy spoke about engaging with First Nations peoples in making decisions around public health emergencies, with a focus on H1N1 and COVID-19.

    Diane Summers, Senior Adviser in the Immunisation Team at UNICEF
    Diane focussed on the role of risk communication and engagement during COVID-19 globally, including the impact of COVID on immunisation services and demand, and discussed some of the key challenges moving forward. 

    View the webinar recording below:

    COSSI workshop 2019: Improving vaccine confidence demand & uptake 

    The Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) hosted a four day workshop in October 2019 titled 'Improving Vaccine Confidence, Demand and Uptake'.

    This workshop helped partcipants to develop their vaccine communication skills and application of behavioural insights to strengthen immunisation programs and improve vaccine uptake. It was organised by the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS).

    The workshop offered a variety of presentations, facilitated discussions and case-based practice working sessions. The material was presented by experts from the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe and Australian experts.

    Part 1 - Responding to vaccine critics  focused on improving immunisation providers' and researchers’ skills and confidence in using evidenced-based vaccine communications techniques when responding to vocal vaccine critics, particularly in the public arena. 

    Part 2 - Using the WHO Tailoring Immunisation Program (TIP) approach showed participants how immunisation programs can use behavioral insights to identify contextual barriers and tailor strategies to improve vaccine programs and coverage. 

    COSSI workshop 2018

    The Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI) hosted their inaugural full day workshop in Adelaide prior to the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) National lmmunisation Conference.  The workshop attracted a diverse group of 63 attendees from across Australia and even a few from New Zealand.

    The workshop was held for members and others interested in the social science of immunisation, which includes aiming to better understand community concerns, attitudes, barriers to accessing immunisation services, and experiences of obtaining immunisation care and support.  It is hoped that by listening to issues and needs, improved resources for parents, health care providers and others in the community can be developed and effectively disseminated.  Inequities can also be highlighted for action.

    The workshop was well received with 97% of evaluation respondents affirming that it was informative and useful.  A Keynote presentation by Catherine Hughes (Light for Riley) was highly rated, while a landscape analysis and Table top session were also part of the program, and initiated lots of questions and discussion.

    An enthusiastic workshop attendee stated:

    “[The COSSI workshop] was the most valuable part of the [conference] week for me …[I suggest you] consider having a second satellite event after the NIC to synthesize learning’s from the conference and apply/translate into practical solutions to improve/ sustain confidence around vaccination programs in the community”.

    The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance sponsored the COSSI event and supported 5 members through travel scholarships. NCIRS also hosts the COSSI secretariat (including website) and has done since its inception in 2016.  The network was co-initiated by NCIRS with colleagues at the University of Sydney.

    COSSI Workshop 2018
    Professor Julie Leask presenting at the COSSI workshop 2018












    COSSI Knowledge Exchange Meetings

    2018 was another busy year for COSSI.  We organised and hosted 3 Knowledge Exchange Meetings (KEMs) as teleconferences through the year.

    The most recent Knowledge Exchange Meeting featured Dr Jess Kaufman, Postdoctoral Research Officer, Centre for Health Communication and Participation, School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia; who gave a short presentation about her work on the topic: Monitoring acceptance and evaluating strategies to promote vaccination – what, why and how to measure?  As usual, some interesting discussion followed, with questions from immunisation practitioners, researchers, a communications specialist and others.

    The web-based videoconferencing tool Zoom was trialled in the recent meeting, to support the participation of international collaborators/members, and to enable recording of the meetings.

    COSSI Knowledge Exchange and Journal Club meetings have been planned bimonthly for 2019 beginning in February.  The key objective is information sharing, discussion, solution finding and developing partnerships. We look forward to your participation.

    Join COSSI to be notified of future events.

    Last updated June 2020