22697 Turning the Tide: Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and Timely Immunizations through a Social Marketing Campaign

Wednesday, April 21, 2010: 9:35 AM
International Ballroom South
Ginny Heller, MSW , Program Manager, WithinReach
Michele Roberts, MPH, CHES , Health Promotion and Communication Manager, Washington State Department of Health

Background: Washington State is not on track to meet Healthy People 2010 objectives for vaccination rates in children aged 19 to 35 months and has one of the nation’s highest rates of exemptions from school immunization requirements. Increasing numbers of parents are delaying or refusing to immunize their children. There has not been any coordinated effort to address vaccine hesitancy in Washington.

Setting: Develop a statewide campaign for provider offices and clinics including a grassroots community outreach component.

Population: Parents who are hesitant about vaccines, defined as parents who are unsure whether to immunize or are intentionally skipping or delaying one or more immunizations.

Project Description: A diverse group of public and private partners developed a social marketing plan to increase timely immunizations among children birth to 24 months of age, targeting parents who are hesitant about vaccines. This presentation will describe key aspects of the social marketing planning process, including audience research of 449 pregnant women and new parents and 54 healthcare providers, product and promotional strategies aimed at achieving the desired behavior change, and the plan to pilot test the campaign materials.

Results/Lessons Learned: The social marketing framework was an effective way to develop strategies to reach providers and parents around the issue of vaccine hesitancy. Bringing together a diverse group of public and private partners was critical to community investment and acceptance of the plan. Audience research helped define issues and opportunities. Other lessons learned include: the need for a nuanced product strategy to accommodate the differences between prenatal and pediatric care providers and strategies to get information to pregnant women would be beneficial since immunization beliefs and attitudes are formulated prior to the birth of a child.