Despite widespread vaccination campaigns across the United States, disparities exist in childhood immunization rates, especially among communities regarding health insurance status, race and ethnicity, and poverty status.
Worse, the gaps in vaccination coverage among these demographics widened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the CDC reported, there was a 14% drop in 2020-2021 in childhood vaccination rates compared with 2019. Additionally, recent outbreaks of potentially disabling and fatal vaccine-preventable diseases have made a comeback, highlighting the importance of adherence to the CDC-recommended vaccination schedule.
As such, Pfizer and the March of Dimes developed a campaign to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on barriers to routine childhood immunization in communities with lower immunization rates and support uptake to help protect communities across the United States.
The March of Dimes and Pfizer launched an educational program to uncover why parents choose or do not choose to have their child receive recommended vaccines, share what influences parents to vaccinate or not vaccinate their child. The campaign also measured the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parents’ choice to vaccinate their children with recommended vaccines. As demonstrated in our results Through this campaign, we gained awareness around the impact of federal programs (such as Vaccines for Children), key barriers to pediatric vaccinations, and information sources parents use to receive information about vaccines.
Most importantly, we developed content to help parents and caregivers share the importance of pediatric vaccinations and increase vaccination uptake rates in historically vulnerable communities.
In April 2022, Pfizer and March of Dimes conducted a survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on barriers to routine childhood immunization in communities with lower immunization rates.
The strategic approach to this program leveraged the results of the survey, which included questions focused on barriers to vaccinations, opinions around recommended pediatric vaccinations, and barriers to accessing vaccination. As a result of the survey, Pfizer and March of Dimes uncovered that there continues to be significant gaps in knowledge, trust and access related to pediatric vaccination.
A suite of materials including a webinar, factsheet, op-ed, LinkedIn post, and social content were developed based on the results of the survey.
To expand the reach of the survey, the primary creative results of this campaign included a survey and webinar featured in the March of Dimes Healthy Moms, Strong Babies series. Pfizer and March of Dimes partnered with celebrity activist, Amber Stevens West, former Chief Medical Officer, Zsakeba Henderson, M.D., and Pfizer’s Niesha Foster, Vice President, Global Health & Social Impact to participate in the webinar.
Further, the results of the campaign were used to develop resources for the general public, including a social toolkit and factsheet shared via the March of Dimes and March of Dimes channels. Specifically, four posts were shared via the March of Dimes’ channels, while Pfizer also shared the content via LinkedIn promoting the webinar. The factsheet included details around the survey results.
Finally, a long-form LinkedIn article was drafted on behalf of Elizabeth Cherot, Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Officer of March of Dimes in partnership with Pfizer, which was shared via the March of Dimes website and social channels for both partners.
These additional tactics facilitated a broader reach for this important conversation and generated the highest-reaching webinar views for March of Dimes thus far.
In our survey, we identified that a lack of awareness around the availability of free vaccines and vaccine recommendations were significant barriers for parents. Notably, only 21% of parents had heard of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and only 10% had used it to get vaccines for their children. We also identified certain barriers that impacted parents' ability to get their children vaccinated and the main barriers were lack of insurance coverage (33%), not having a doctor (35%), and lack of access to transportation (27%).
Importantly, we also heard that trust plays a critical factor in the decision to vaccinate their child. In fact, 70% of parents surveyed stated that concerns about the safety of vaccines influenced their decision to vaccinate.
The campaign garnered 188,561 impressions, 41,045 video views, and 440 engagements. Additionally, the HMSB webinar specifically garnered 120,581 impressions – 590% more than the average HMSB webinar, and 41,056 video views, which is 12% more than the average HMSB webinar.
As part of the later phase of the campaign, we developed an op-ed and long-form LinkedIn article on behalf of Elizabeth Cherot, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Officer of March of Dimes in partnership with Pfizer.
Overall, leveraging key advocacy organizations, like the March of Dimes, as trusted messengers position Pfizer to educate targeted audiences on the importance of routine pediatric vaccinations.