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Cross-disciplinary use of socioeconomic data in vaccine research
Fri 1 Sep 2023

Socioeconomic data can provide important insights for infectious diseases research, including vaccines, as well as policy for disease preparedness and mitigation. For example, social sciences can help understand how infectious diseases spread among and impact different segments of society such as different socioeconomic groups or economic sectors; how effective different government strategies are at combating the spread of a virus; or how political and psychological factors can affect vaccine uptake; provide the socioeconomic elements on which policies and communication actions should focus and/or adapt in order to be more efficient.

Workshop organised by DANS-KNAW/CESSDA

In the context of the BY-COVID project, DANS-KNAW/CESSDA  organised the ‘BY-COVID Spring 23 Use Cases Workshop: Integration of socioeconomic data in observational studies on vaccine effectiveness’ in collaboration with BY-COVID partners IACS and Sciensano. The workshop gathered participants both internal and external to BY-COVID to promote the use of socioeconomic data in vaccine and infectious disease research, in particular for the BY-COVID Baseline Use Case on vaccine effectiveness. 

The workshop also focused on building collaboration between Dutch and Belgian actors working with life and social science -related research and data. The event took place in The Hague, the Netherlands at the premises of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) on April 26th 2023, and gathered participants from 10 Dutch and Belgian organizations.   

Following the workshop, the participants collaborated on a report which details the presentations, breakout sessions, and conclusions drawn during the event. The workshop report has just been made available for everyone to view on Zenodo.  

Some conclusions

The workshop demonstrated that there is significant capacity and expertise related to how socioeconomic data can be mobilised to contribute to research and prevention of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. The workshop also highlighted the challenges and limitations in this work, notably including data governance and security issues surrounding sensitive data. These presentations thus show the benefits that collaboration in this field can have in terms of cross-fertilisation, and the tackling of shared challenges. 

The workshop thus successfully contributed to further collaboration in this landscape, identified best practices, experiences and challenges surrounding the mobilisation and use of SSH data for infectious disease research and practice, and laid the ground for further developments both within the BY-COVID Baseline Use Case, as well as in the wider landscape.


BY-COVID aims to make data on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases from various disciplines available to the public, in order to improve European readiness for future pandemics. This three-year project involves 53 partners from 19 countries, and brings together stakeholders from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds, including from the biomedical field, hospitals, public health, as well as the social sciences and humanities. 

Through The European COVID-19 Data Platform, BY-COVID facilitates the sharing of over 25 million data records from various fields, including over 500 data collections from the CESSDA Data Catalogue (CDC).

The project also promotes a 'continuously evolving Demonstrator Project', which aims to provide a test bed and demonstration for the services and tools provided by the project. As part of this Demonstrator Project, the Baseline Use Case on vaccine effectiveness aims to highlight how real-world vaccine effectiveness can be estimated in a causal framework by combining administrative, health and care data with data on socioeconomic factors.


Find the Preliminary workshop report here
Find out more about the workshop here


More information