Pregnant women who were offered access to a website with vaccine information and interactive social media were more likely to vaccinate their infants on time than were those receiving usual care, said Jason M. Glanz, PhD, of the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, and his associates.
“These results suggest that interactive, informational interventions administered outside of the physician’s office can improve vaccine acceptance,” the investigators said. “The information appears to be effective when presented to parents before their children are born.”
Pregnant women who were members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, were recruited between September 2013 and October 2015, and randomized 3:2:1 – a total of 442 women to a website with vaccine information and interactive social media components (VSM); 297 to a website with vaccine information (VI); and 149 to usual care (UC).
The women in the VSM group had access to vaccine content, social media technologies that included a blog, discussion forum, chat rooms with experts, and “Ask a Question” portal through which the women could directly ask experts questions about vaccination. The experts were a pediatrician, a vaccine safety researcher, and a risk communication specialist.
Monthly, one to two blog posts were created on topics such as new vaccine safety research, vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, changes in immunization policy, and the importance of adhering to the recommended immunization schedule, the researchers said. The women also could submit questions privately through e-mail, and receive personalized responses within 2 business days.
At the end of 200 days of follow-up, the proportion of infants up to date with their vaccinations were 93% for the VSM group, 91% for the VI group, and 87% for the UC arms. Infants in the VSM group were more likely to be up to date at age 200 days, compared with infants in the UC group (odds ratio, 1.92; 95% confidence interval, 1.07-3.47).
“Up-to-date status did not differ significantly between the VI and UC arms or the VSM and VI arms,” Dr. Glanz and his associates wrote.
Of 739 women in the VSM and VI groups, 35% visited the website at least once, with a mean of 1.8 visits (range, 1-15 visits). Of 75 vaccine-hesitant women, 44% visited the website, compared with 34% of 664 nonhesitant women. Median vaccine hesitancy scores were 13 for the VSM group, 17 for the VI group, and 15 for the UC group.
The study authors had no relevant disclosures.
Read more in Pediatrics (2017 Nov. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-1117 ).