Health messages to encourage vaccination during a pandemic or epidemic (search done in May 2020)

Added February 24, 2021

Citation: Lawes-Wickwar S, Ghio D, Tang MY, et al. A rapid systematic review of public responses to health messages encouraging vaccination against infectious diseases in a pandemic or epidemic. Vaccines. 2021;9(2):72.

What is this? Several vaccines have been shown to be effective against COVID-19. Existing research on the public’s responses to messages encouraging vaccination during a pandemic or epidemic might provide useful information for policy makers.

In this rapid systematic review, the authors searched for studies testing at least one type of health message on vaccination-related behaviour and behavioural influences. They restricted their searches to articles published in English and did the search in May 2020. They included 35 eligible studies; half of which scored highly in their quality assessment, and most of which reported messages for seasonal influenza (11 studies) or H1N1 influenza (11).

What works: Messages were more effective if they (a) used credible sources (e.g. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention); (b) used community-wide outreach methods including mixed media; (c) considered appropriate risk-reducing framing; and (d) were personally relevant, short and focused on the benefits of vaccination to society as a whole.

The authors of the review also recommended consulting local communities in the design and dissemination of messages to ensure they are acceptable and accessible by target groups.

What doesn’t work: Messages which over-emphasised the health benefits of vaccines and used terminology that the target populations could not understand had negative impacts on beliefs and intentions to take up a vaccine and were less acceptable to the public.

What’s uncertain: The most effective messaging medium (e.g. text message or TV broadcast) and intensity of delivery for improving vaccine uptake are uncertain.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone. The text can be shared and re-used without charge, citing Evidence Aid as the source and noting the date on which you took the text.

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