Nudging towards COVID-19 and influenza vaccination uptake in medically at-risk children: EPIC study protocol of randomised controlled trials in Australian paediatric outpatient clinics

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

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Introduction Children with chronic medical diseases are at an unacceptable risk of hospitalisation and death from influenza and SARS-CoV-2 infections. Over the past two decades, behavioural scientists have learnt how to design non-coercive € nudge' interventions to encourage positive health behaviours. Our study aims to evaluate the impact of multicomponent nudge interventions on the uptake of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines in medically at-risk children. Methods and analyses Two separate randomised controlled trials (RCTs), each with 1038 children, will enrol a total of approximately 2076 children with chronic medical conditions who are attending tertiary hospitals in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria. Participants will be randomly assigned (1:1) to the standard care or intervention group. The nudge intervention in each RCT will consist of three text message reminders with four behavioural nudges including (1) social norm messages, (2) different messengers through links to short educational videos from a paediatrician, medically at-risk child and parent and nurse, (3) a pledge to have their child or themselves vaccinated and (4) information salience through links to the current guidelines and vaccine safety information. The primary outcome is the proportion of medically at-risk children who receive at least one dose of vaccine within 3 months of randomisation. Logistic regression analysis will be performed to determine the effect of the intervention on the probability of vaccination uptake. Ethics and dissemination The protocol and study documents have been reviewed and approved by the Women's and Children's Health Network Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/22/WCHN/2022/00082). The results will be published via peer-reviewed journals and presented at scientific meetings and public forums. Trial registration number NCT05613751.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere076194
JournalBMJ open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 17 Feb 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Primary Prevention
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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