Social media

Using Facebook to reach adolescents for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination

Despite numerous health campaigns to promote the HPV vaccine, uptake among adolescents in the US has remained below the 80% target. An innovative social media strategy was carried out to raise awareness and increase rates of HPV immunization. Over a 1-year period, a Facebook campaign targeted 13-18 year-olds in Philadelphia, with specific messages about the benefits of HPV immunization and opportunities for vaccination. Six distinct advertising campaigns ran for two-week intervals and a combination of Facebook metrics and vaccine clinic data were used to track success. On average, each campaign reached 155,110 adolescents and engaged 2,106. The advertising campaigns that focused on HPV disease risk and local resources were the most successful. Overall, 3,400 adolescents became fans of the campaign, and 176 doses of HPV were administered. However, only 2 adolescents were vaccinated as a result of the campaign, while the rest were prompted through reminder-recall letters or community events. This study showed that social media can stimulate interest and awareness, but was not a sufficient driver for HPV uptake.

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