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Save the Date to Vaccinate Campaign

Project Added:
16 February 2015
Last updated:
16 February 2015

Save the Date to Vaccinate Campaign

Summary

The Save the Date to Vaccinate campaign is part of a long term strategy to improve childhood vaccination rates in NSW. The key message of the Save the Date to Vaccinate campaign focuses on ‘on time’ immunisation, addressing a lack of understanding about the importance of vaccinating children in line with the recommended immunisation schedule.

Specific elements of the campaign are targeted to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), and Aboriginal audiences.

This project was a finalist in the Preventive Health category of the 2014 NSW Health Awards. Download a poster from the 2014 NSW Health Awards.

Visit the Save the Date to Vaccinate website

Aim

This campaign aims to improve rates of childhood immunisation against vaccine preventable diseases to protect individuals and the broader population.

Benefits

  • Improved childhood immunisation rates in NSW
  • Timely access to vaccinations
  • Improved patient outcomes through disease prevention
  • Increased understanding about the importance of vaccination

Project Status

Sustained: The project has been implemented, is sustained in standard business.

Background 

The NSW Ministry of Health (MoH) considers 95% immunisation coverage necessary for the sustained control of vaccine preventable diseases. While there is a high level of participation in vaccination programs in NSW, the rate remained short of the 95% immunisation coverage target needed for effective disease control. 

A contributing factor to reaching the target is timely vaccination, in line with the recommended schedule.

The Save the Date to Vaccinate campaign is the first NSW public education campaign about immunisation since 1992, and the first in Australia to address and alter parental/care provider attitudes and beliefs about immunisation.

Implementation

The campaign embraces new technology with an app for iPhone and Android phones to capitalise on the high penetration of smartphones in the Australian market. This allows parents to have access to relevant, information about their child’s vaccination schedule at their fingertips, and ongoing reminders to increase likelihood of preventive health behaviours over the four-year period of the childhood immunisation schedule.

The app features useful information on the importance of vaccinating on time, and tools that allow users to create a personalised schedule for their children featuring name, age, profile photo and doctor's information. It then sends reminders of due dates for vaccinations.

The campaign continues to encourage new parents to download the app, to drive ongoing compliance to the immunisation schedule and increase the likelihood to undertake timely vaccinations for children during the first four years of life.

The campaign has also established a corporate knowledge base in the development and promotion of smartphone apps within Strategic Relations and Communications, allowing other campaigns within the MoH as well as Local Health Districts and Pillar organisations to access this expertise.

Having the smart phone app at the centre of the campaign has increased the likelihood of sustainable behaviour change within the target audience of the campaign. Ongoing reminders to undertake timely vaccinations for years to come will make it easier for parents to follow best practice recommendations.

The app allows for ongoing updates to the schedule (should it be amended), or to the supporting information for parents as/when needed, as opposed to printed resources, that can be unknowingly incorrectly referred to year’s later.

The app also allows fantastic opportunities to communicate directly to target audiences in a scalable way, through increased notifications to all or parts of the target audience. For example, there is an opportunity to send direct messages to those with the app to alert to any disease outbreaks to provide information and advice.

An integrated approach to campaign branding was used to engage the community and the medical and child care sectors to support campaign outcomes, including in relation to recent changes to child care vaccination.

Within MoH, the Immunisation team has worked closely with the Strategic Relations and Communications branch to develop and execute all aspects of the campaign.

Partnerships

The campaign was developed and implemented in partnership with the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance to ensure a coordinated approach for all immunisation activities in NSW, driving a shared agenda with Local Health Districts for promoting timely vaccination at every opportunity. 

Results 

The app has been embraced enthusiastically by parents, and is consistently rated above four stars by users in each app store.  At January 2014 there had been 33,416 downloads and 45,300 children registered, despite there only being 8 weeks of advertising activity.

By May 2015, it’s estimated the app will have around 88,500 users and potentially benefit over 119,000 children in NSW.

Having the smart phone app at the centre of the campaign has increased the likelihood of sustainable behaviour change within the target audience of the campaign. Ongoing reminders to undertake timely vaccinations for years to come will make it easier for parents to follow best practice recommendations.

The app allows for ongoing updates to the schedule (should it be amended), or to the supporting information for parents as/when needed, as opposed to printed resources, that can be unknowingly incorrectly referred to year’s later.

The app also allows fantastic opportunities to communicate directly to target audiences in a scalable way, through increased notifications to all or parts of the target audience. For example, there is an opportunity to send direct messages to those with the app to alert to any disease outbreaks to provide information and advice.

By emphasising digital and social channels, campaign reach is extended with a greater return on investment on marketing spend. The digital nature of engagement provides analytics with a high level of accuracy allowing developments to be tracked in real time and campaign decisions to be altered to enhance efficiencies.

Driving traffic to the app delivers ongoing efficiencies and increased likelihood for adhering to the vaccination schedule. It’s likely that each time the campaign takes place, less investment will be required in order to covert the same number of app downloads, thanks to ongoing measurement and evaluation.

The 2014/15 campaign aims to drive further app downloads to gain an additional 55,000 users.

Lessons Learnt

A number of factors affected data collection and reporting over the campaign period, primarily the introduction in July 2013 of new combination vaccines which were not reported through the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR), and the June 2013 cessation of the General Practice Immunisation Incentives Program. Nevertheless, two campaign goals were surpassed, according to independent data collected from ACIR.

Contact

Lucy Coggan
Senior Marketing Officer
Immunisation Unit and Strategic Relations & Communications
NSW Ministry of Health
Phone: 02 9424 5915
Email: lcogg@doh.health.nsw.gov.au

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