Please cite this paper as: Van Buynder et al. (2010) Marketing paediatric influenza vaccination: results of a major metropolitan trial. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 5(1), 33–38.
Objectives After a cluster of rapidly fulminant influenza related toddler deaths in a Western Australian metropolis, children aged six to 59 months were offered influenza vaccination in subsequent winters. Some parental resistance was expected and previous poor uptake of paediatric influenza vaccination overseas was noted. A marketing campaign addressing barriers to immunization was developed to maximise uptake.
Design Advertising occurred in major statewide newspapers, via public poster displays and static ‘eye-lite’ displays, via press releases, via a series of rolling radio advertisements, via direct marketing to child care centres, and via a linked series of web-sites. Parents were subsequently surveyed to assess reasons for vaccination.
Main Outcome Results The campaign produced influenza vaccination coverage above that previously described elsewhere and led to a proportionate reduction in influenza notifications in this age group compared to previous seasons.
Conclusions Influenza in children comes with significant morbidity and some mortality. Paediatric influenza vaccination is safe, well tolerated and effective if two doses are given. A targeted media campaign can increase vaccine uptake if it reinforces the seriousness of influenza and addresses community ‘myths’ about influenza and influenza vaccine. The lessons learned enabling enhancements of similar programs elsewhere.