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Can uptake of childhood influenza immunisation through schools and GP practices be increased through behaviourally-informed invitation letters and reminders: two pragmatic randomized controlled trials

Howell-Jones, Rebecca, Gold, Natalie ORCID: 0000-0003-0706-1618, Bowen, Sarah, Bunten, Amanda, Tan, Karen, Saei, Ayoub, Jones, Sarah, MacDonald, Pauline, Watson, Robin, Bennett, Kirsty F. and Chadborn, Tim (2023) Can uptake of childhood influenza immunisation through schools and GP practices be increased through behaviourally-informed invitation letters and reminders: two pragmatic randomized controlled trials. BMC Public Health, 23 (1). ISSN 1471-2458

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s12889-022-14439-4

Abstract

Background: The UK is rolling out a national childhood influenza immunisation programme for children, delivered through primary care and schools. Behaviourally-informed letters and reminders have been successful at increasing uptake of other public health interventions. Therefore, we investigated the effects of a behaviourally-informed letter on uptake of the vaccine at GP practices, and of a letter and a reminder (SMS/ email) on uptake at schools. Methods and results: Study 1 was a cluster-randomised parallel trial of 21,786 two- and three-year olds in 250 GP practices, conducted during flu season (September to January inclusive) 2016/7. The intervention was a centrally-sent behaviourally-informed invitation letter, control was usual care. The proportion of two- and three-year olds in each practice who received a vaccination by 31st January 2017 was 23.4% in the control group compared to 37.1% in the intervention group (OR = 1.93; 95% CI = 1.82, 2.05, p < 0.001). Study 2 was a 2 (behavioural letter vs standard letter) × 2 (reminder vs no reminder) factorial trial of 1108 primary schools which included 3010 school years 1–3. Letters were sent to parents from providers, and reminders sent to parents from the schools. In the standard-letter-no-reminder arm, an average of 61.6% of eligible children in each school year were vaccinated, compared to 61.9% in the behavioural-letter-no-reminder arm, 63.5% in the standard-letter-plus-reminder arm, and 62.9% in the behavioural-letter-plus reminder condition, F(3, 2990) = 2.68, p = 0.046. In a multi-level model, with demographic variables as fixed effects, the proportion of eligible students in the school year who were vaccinated increased with the reminder, β = 0.086 (0.041), p < 0.036, but there was no effect of the letter nor any interaction effect. Conclusion: Sending a behaviourally informed invitation letter can increase uptake of childhood influenza vaccines at the GP surgery compared to usual practice. A reminder SMS or email can increase uptake of the influenza vaccine in schools, but the effect size was minimal. Trial registration: Study 1: Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02921633. Study 2: Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02883972.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/
Additional Information: © 2023 Crown
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2023 11:45
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2024 19:18
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118144

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