Randomised controlled trials of behavioural nudges delivered through text messages to increase influenza and COVID-19 vaccines among pregnant women (the EPIC study): study protocol

Prabha H. Andraweera, Bing Wang, Margie Danchin, Christopher Blyth, Ivo Vlaev, Jason Ong, Jodie Dodd, Jennifer Couper, Thomas R. Sullivan, Jonathan Karnon, Nicola Spurrier, Michael Cusack, Dylan Mordaunt, Dimi Simatos, Gus Dekker, Samantha Carlson, Jane Tuckerman, Nicholas Wood, Lisa Whop, Helen S. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Influenza and COVID-19 infections during pregnancy may have serious adverse consequences for women as well as their infants. However, uptake of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy remains suboptimal. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a multi-component nudge intervention to improve influenza and COVID-19 vaccine uptake among pregnant women. 

Methods: Pregnant women who receive antenatal care at five tertiary hospitals in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria will be recruited to two separate randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Women will be eligible for the COVID-19 RCT is they have received two or less doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Women will be eligible for the influenza RCT if they have not received the 2023 seasonal influenza vaccine. Vaccination status at all stages of the trial will be confirmed by the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Participants will be randomised (1:1) to standard care or intervention group (n = 1038 for each RCT). The nudge intervention in each RCT will comprise three SMS text message reminders with links to short educational videos from obstetricians, pregnant women and midwives and vaccine safety information. The primary outcome is at least one dose of a COVID-19 or influenza vaccine during pregnancy, as applicable. Logistic regression will compare the proportion vaccinated between groups. The effect of treatment will be described using odds ratio with a 95% CI. 

Discussion: Behavioural nudges that facilitate individual choices within a complex context have been successfully used in other disciplines to stir preferred behaviour towards better health choices. If our text-based nudges prove to be successful in improving influenza and COVID-19 vaccine uptake among pregnant women, they can easily be implemented at a national level. 

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT05613751. Registered on November 14, 2022.

Original languageEnglish
Article number454
Number of pages8
JournalTrials
Volume24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Influenza
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • RCT
  • Vaccine

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