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Text messaging fails to change stance on flu vaccine

US study of low-income, pregnant women indicates texting ineffective in changing willingness to have flu vaccine

The results of the US pilot study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology have concluded that text messaging prompts were not effective at increasing influenza vaccination rates among a low-income, urban, obstetric population who had previously refused the vaccination.

The randomised, controlled clinical trial appears on the US National Institutes of Health's ClinicalTrials.gov registry and sampled primarily African American (66 per cent) with low educational attainment (90 per cent having equivalent to or less than high school education) and carried no healthcare insurance. The sample had previously declined having the flu vaccine.

Between 2010 and 2011, researchers sent 12 weekly text messages to 158 women in the study group.

The purpose of the study was to try and establish an effective way to educate pregnant women about their particular vulnerability to influenza infection and increase vaccine uptake.

The use of text messaging as a simple prompt is already having some success in helping people quit smoking and manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and there is also interest in this communication method to increase adherence.

Texting also appears to carry a higher success rate among those who are already willing to get vaccinated.

However, clinical studies suggest that a broader communication strategy is called for if the objective is to educate and change mindset of audiences.

3rd April 2013

From: Marketing

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