Science and Technology

Two Técnico researchers take part in study awarded with the Francisco George Public Health Award

Manuel Ribeiro and Leonardo Azevedo co-authored the award-winning study on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Portugal.

Manuel Ribeiro and Leonardo Azevedo are two of the co-authors of the award-winning study of the Francisco George Public Health Award 2022, which “aims to distinguish groundbreaking and innovative research works and studies on public health topics of relevant interest and impact in defence of public health”. The two Técnico professors and CERENA researchers co-authored the work “Spatial analysis of determinants of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Portugal”, which contributes to understanding the causes of vaccine hesitancy against COVID-19 in Portugal and its association with sociodemographic risk factors (the concept of vaccine hesitancy consists of the proportion of individuals not vaccinated against COVID-19 over the resident population in Portugal).

The award, worth five thousand euros, recognises the merit of the work assessed “taking into account its originality, excellence, applicability or future usefulness, the possibility of its replication, and its relevance and impact in defence of public health”.

Manuel Ribeiro says it’s a great honour to be part of the research team that received the award, “it is a recognition of the excellent research work that [the group] has been carrying out at Técnico on environmental epidemiology, in partnership with health sector institutions “.

Regarding his work at CERENA, the researcher says he has developed “various skills” that have given him “a good preparation to explore different research approaches and a complete vision that allowed to envisage future paths to respond to the challenges in the field of environmental epidemiology”.

The co-author explains that the award-winning work analysed COVID-19 vaccination data in Portugal until March 2022, integrating geographical and sociodemographic data to assess the extent and factors that most contributed to vaccine hesitancy. According to Manuel Ribeiro, the results of the analysis show that the distribution of the risk of hesitancy in Portugal “tends to exhibit spatial patterns” and that “it is prevalent in vulnerable populations”.

The corresponding author of the award-winning work is André Peralta-Santos, from the Directorate of Information and Analysis (DSIA) of the Directorate-General of Health. The work is co-authored by Constança Pinto de Carvalho (DSIA), Manuel Ribeiro (CERENA), Diogo Godinho Simões (DSIA), Patrícia Pita Ferreira (DSIA), Leonardo Azevedo (CERENA), Licínio Gonçalves (Shared Services of the Ministry of Health) and Pedro Pinto Leite (DSIA).