Texting parents about flu vaccine helps get children protected

Reuters reports that researchers in New York City have suggested that sending parents text messages containing information on the flu vaccine could encourage them to get their children vaccinated and thus increase the number of children and teens protected from the flu.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors of the study found that during the 2010-2011 flu season, parents who received a series of text messages regarding the flu vaccine were more likely to have their children get a flu shot than those who did not receive the texts.

According to the investigators, text messages may be more effective than a phone call or a reminder letter because a text message is sent directly to a specific person and is stored in their phone.

The story adds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that most people be vaccinated every year.

MedPage Today mentions that although parents who received text messages about the flu vaccine were more likely to get their kids vaccinated for the flu season, it was not by much.

According to the article, “in a low-income, urban population, a series of text reminders yielded a vaccination rate of 43.6% compared with 39.9% in families given just the usual single phone reminder.”

MedPage Today adds that “the researchers cautioned that the low-income, urban population served likely faced many other competing priorities and barriers not addressed by the texting intervention that kept the vaccination rates low.”

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