Caja Achieving Significant Results in Increasing Uptake of Adolescent Vaccinations in the North East
As with most routine vaccinations, uptake of the Meningitis ACWY (MenACWY) and 3-in-1 Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio Booster vaccines was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. This is particularly strongly the case in the North East and Cumbria region with uptake of both vaccines well below the traditional 90% target.
In collaboration with Public Health South Tees, Caja are building a behaviourally informed approach to increasing uptake of these and other adolescent vaccinations in the North East.
Integrating various behavioural science principles into a simple multi-channel approach to increasing the rate of parental consent for these vaccinations, we are starting to see tangible differences in uptake. At an initial trial school in Middlesbrough, we developed a simple Public Health Letter to be sent out by the school’s headteacher and two follow-up SMS messages to be sent to parents who had still not confirmed or denied their consent 1 week and 1 day before the vaccination session. These materials utilised nudge techniques, such as social norms, salience, defaults, loss aversion, and ego, in order to maximise their impact on behaviour.
Initial results from this trial indicated a 24% increase in uptake of the two target vaccinations compared to last year at the same school. Similar results were observed when we repeated the approach for the trial school’s two HPV vaccine sessions.
As a result of the initial promise of our approach, we are now in the process of scaling up across four different North East regions with further trials at four additional schools. Our current ambition is to revolutionise adolescent vaccine communication across the patch to reach as many young people as possible.
If you are interested in finding out more about the potential of behavioural science approaches in a primary care setting, Caja Director, Nigel Guest, will be speaking at the 2023 Best Practice Event, to discuss how these techniques can be applied to improve Primary Care Access.