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Soc Mar Q. 2011 Spring;17(1):4-26.

Evaluating a County-Sponsored Social Marketing Campaign to Increase Mothers' Initiation of HPV Vaccine for their Pre-teen Daughters in a Primarily Rural Area.

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1
School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Abstract

Routine vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer, is recommended for 11-12 year old girls, yet vaccine uptake is low. This study evaluates a social marketing campaign initiated by 13 North Carolina counties to raise awareness among parents and reduce barriers to accessing the vaccine in a primarily rural area. The 3-month campaign targeted mothers of girls ages 11-12 and healthcare practices serving pre-teen girls in four counties. Principles of social marketing were: product (recommended vaccine against HPV), price (cost, perception of safety and efficacy, and access), promotion (posters, brochures, website, news releases, doctor's recommendation), and place (doctors' offices, retail outlets). We analyzed (1) website traffic, hotline calls, and media placement; (2) cross-sectional surveys of mothers and providers; and (3) HPV immunization rates in intervention versus non-intervention counties. Of respondent mothers (n=225), 82% heard or saw campaign messages or materials. Of respondent providers (n=35), 94% used campaign brochures regularly or occasionally in conversations with parents. HPV vaccination rates within six months of campaign launch were 2% higher for 9-13 year old girls in two of the four intervention counties compared to 96 non-intervention counties. This evaluation supports campaign use in other primarily rural and underserved areas.

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