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Programs in Seed Grants

Perceptions of people with albinism towards vaccinations in Tanzania

Principal Investigators:
Stephen Luby, MD, Stanford Department of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine and Zahra A Fazal, MS, Stanford School of Medicine (study architect and lead)

Co-investigators: Joelle Rosser, MD, MS, Infectious Disease; Florida Muro, MD, PhD, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College; David Rehkopf, Sc.D, MPH, Epidemiology and Population Health; Karim Manji, MD, M.Med, MPH, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences;

Community partners: Standing Voice, Tanzania Albinism Society and the Ukerewe Albinism Society

Funders: Department of Medicine, Center for Innovation in Global Health

Due to historical discrimination, little is known about the unique health needs of people with albinism in East Africa. This community-centered study seeks to understand equity barriers to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the general attitude toward vaccination, for this highly stigmatized population in Tanzania.

“The most exciting and compelling aspect of this study is its potential to shed light on how a history of discrimination can create structural barriers towards vaccine acceptance among populations that are under-served in public health,” said study architect and lead, Zahra Fazal. “By quantifying vaccine hesitancy in people with albinism and identifying the reasons behind it, this study could inform evidence-driven policies to increase inclusivity in public health programming for routine and emergency vaccination programs.”

Fazal added that the study’s findings could have particular significance across many Sub-Saharan African countries where albinism is also stigmatized and where people with albinism interact with the healthcare system in similar ways. “To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to capture data on vaccination amongst people with albinism worldwide,” she said.

Photo credit: Eyasu Etsub,