30357 Reaching Adolescents Where They Are: A Social Media Educational Tool

Monday, March 26, 2012
Poster Hall
John Keegan, BS , Operations Consultant, Florida Department of Health

Background:  Increasing public awareness of vaccine safety and benefits is an essential component of any effort to increase protective vaccination coverage rates. Increased use of electronic social media by adolescents provides a unique opportunity to provide information directly to the target cohort.  Research shows that to reach the adolescent community, they should be approached where they are; online.  We developed and executed an online-based adolescent vaccine awareness campaign to increase awareness of age-appropriate vaccinations.  Our goals for this project were to: 1) Get adolescent's attention. 2) Provide accurate information regarding meningococcal and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. 3) Incentivize them to participate in the contest and to share the information through social media. 4) Create a contest that uses a medium they already enjoy and feel comfortable using.  We describe the development, implementation, and results of our second online video contest in which adolescents create short informational videos concerning meningococcal and HPV vaccines.

Setting:  The event occurred online.  Announcements, contest rules, and winners were posted on a central Facebook page.  Advertisements were posted to age-defined targeted groups on Facebook.

Population:  The target population was adolescents.

Project Description:  11-18 year olds were invited to submit thirty second public service announcement videos about HPV or meningitis as individuals or groups.  The contest was promoted through Facebook, and distributive emails to health reporters at newspapers, school superintendents, and to all private, co-accredited, and home schools throughout Florida.  Submissions were accepted online.  These submissions were screened, and ten finalist videos were chosen by Bureau of Immunization staff.  Finalists were posted on line and peer-adjudicated to determine the winner.

Results/Lessons Learned:  Online/Social Media communication can effectively target adolescents with regard to recommended vaccines.  Our method has been streamlined for efficient modification and use by other public health entities intending to use this media to reach adolescents.