The Efficacy of a Brief, Altruism-Eliciting Video Intervention in Enhancing COVID-19 Vaccination Intentions Among a Population-Based Sample of Younger Adults: Randomized Controlled Trial.JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2022 05 30; 8(5):e37328.JP
High COVID-19 vaccine uptake is crucial to containing the pandemic and reducing hospitalizations and deaths. Younger adults (aged 20-39 years) have demonstrated lower levels of vaccine uptake compared to older adults, while being more likely to transmit the virus due to a higher number of social contacts. Consequently, this age group has been identified by public health authorities as a key target for vaccine uptake. Previous research has demonstrated that altruistic messaging and motivation is associated with vaccine acceptance.
This study had 2 objectives: (1) to evaluate the within-group efficacy of an altruism-eliciting short, animated video intervention in increasing COVID-19 vaccination intentions amongst unvaccinated Canadian younger adults and (2) to examine the video's efficacy compared to a text-based intervention focused exclusively on non-vaccine-related COVID-19 preventive health measures.
Using a web-based survey in a pre-post randomized control trial (RCT) design, we recruited Canadians aged 20-39 years who were not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 and randomized them in a 1:1 ratio to receive either the video intervention or an active text control. The video intervention was developed by our team in collaboration with a digital media company. The measurement of COVID-19 vaccination intentions before and after completing their assigned intervention was informed by the multistage Precaution Adoption Process Model (PAPM). The McNemar chi-square test was performed to evaluate within-group changes of vaccine intentions. Exact tests of symmetry using pairwise McNemar tests were applied to evaluate changes in multistaged intentions. Between-group vaccine intentions were assessed using the Pearson chi-square test postintervention.
Analyses were performed on 1373 participants (n=686, 50%, in the video arm, n=687, 50%, in the text arm). Within-group results for the video intervention arm showed that there was a significant change in the intention to receive the vaccine (χ21=20.55, P<.001). The between-group difference in postintervention intentions (χ23=1.70, P=.64) was not significant. When administered the video intervention, we found that participants who had not thought about or were undecided about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were more amenable to change than participants who had already decided not to vaccinate.
Although the video intervention was limited in its effect on those who had firmly decided not to vaccinate, our study demonstrates that prosocial and altruistic messages could increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake, especially when targeted to younger adults who are undecided or unengaged regarding vaccination. This might indicate that altruistic messaging provides a "push" for those who are tentative toward, or removed from, the decision to receive the vaccine. The results of our study could also be applied to more current COVID-19 vaccination recommendations (eg, booster shots) and for other vaccine-preventable diseases.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04960228; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04960228.