HealthDay News — No increase was seen in COVID-19 vaccination uptake with a text messaging intervention compared with telephone calls only, or for behaviorally informed message content, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Shivan J. Mehta, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial with a factorial design in an urban academic health system involving 16,045 patients aged at least 18 years old who were unresponsive to prior outreach. Participants were randomly assigned to receive an outbound telephone call only by a call center, text message and an outbound telephone call to those who respond, or text message with instruction to make an inbound telephone call in a 1:20:20 ratio. Patients in the second and third groups were concurrently randomly assigned to receive different content: standard message, clinician endorsement, scarcity, or endowment framing in a 1:1:1:1 ratio. The proportion of patients who completed the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 1 month was the primary outcome.

The researchers found that at one month, 3.6%, 3.1%, and 3.3% of patients in the outbound telephone call-only group, the text plus outbound call group, and the text plus inbound call group, respectively, completed 1 vaccine dose. Of the 15,655 patients receiving text messaging, 3.0%, 3.4%, 2.6%, and 3.6% of patients in the standard messaging, clinician endorsement, scarcity, or endowment framing groups, respectively, completed 1 vaccine dose.


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“Additional interventions that address vaccine hesitancy, encourage uptake, and make it easier to receive the vaccination are needed,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and other industries.

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