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Getting personal about vaccination for our Indigenous kids

The challenge: Increase the number of Aboriginal children vaccinated against the flu

Partners: Department of Premier and Cabinet (Public Sector Innovation Fund and Behavioural Insights Unit) and Department of Health & Human Services

Year: 2018

Most Australian children receive a standard series of vaccinations, including influenza vaccinations, but not all. In fact, only two per cent of Aboriginal children are vaccinated against the flu.

We know we can do better, so BehaviourWorks’ partnered with the Victorian Government to establish whether a more personal approach could boost these numbers.

A letter, a pamphlet, or nothing at all

To evaluate whether sending a letter or pamphlet directly to parents/guardians would improve influenza vaccine uptake among children who identify as Aboriginal, a randomised controlled trial was conducted in Victoria with three groups of households; some got a letter, some got a pamphlet and some got no direct communication at all. 

These were not your standard ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ letters – both the letter and the pamphlet were designed using BehaviourWorks’ INSPIRE framework; a means of improving the efficacy of written communications by using seven powerful behavioural techniques.

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Let’s get personal

While there was an overall increase in vaccination rates in all three groups, the letter group showed the highest rate of all. This more personalised approach, as opposed to the pamphlet, seems to be effective in increasing flu vaccination rates among Aboriginal children.

You can read the full paper on the trial results here.