Novel strategies to support global promotion of COVID-19 vaccination

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Stacy Wood, Muhammad Ali Pate, Kevin Schulman

Summary box

  • Vaccine hesitancy continues to undermine the necessary vaccine uptake to herd immunity levels worldwide.

  • Twelve behaviourally oriented strategies, adapted from marketplace theories commonly used to spur innovation adoption, have been recommended to augment standard US vaccination promotion campaigns.

  • Because these strategies were developed for the USA and because they reflected different types of behavioural approaches (eg, social affiliation tactics, implicit ‘nudges’), it was not recommended that they be used for global vaccination promotion without validation.

  • We undertook to validate all 12 strategies for use in the 7 major world regions (as categorised by the World Bank) using a large-scale Delphi method with expert marketing and behavioural science faculty from each world region.

  • Experts independently assessed (1) whether the strategies could be applied in their region, (2) how efficacy would likely compare to the USA and (3) how strategies should be adapted for cultural context. Analysis yielded strong validation and a pattern of necessary adaptations.

  • Experts agree that use of these practices can confidently accelerate worldwide efforts to achieve desired vaccination rates.

  • All 12 behavioural strategies are recommended for use, but vary in the need for region-based adaptation to fit local contexts.

  • The use of behaviourally oriented persuasion techniques, that go beyond standard health communication practices, will also benefit future healthcare initiatives and campaigns.