Renown, Boston Children's execs: Parents need accessible info before vaccinating kids

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Ensuring parents know where they can find reliable information about vaccines is the best way to ensure children will get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other diseases, according to the marketing chiefs at Boston Children's Hospital and Reno, Nev.-based Renown Health.

Many of the vaccines Americans receive are administered to them when they are children. Roderic Young, the chief marketing and communications officer at Boston Children’s, said his hospital saw a sharp decline in routine care visits during the height of the pandemic, not only for routine vaccinations, but also for checkups and other well child visits.

Mr. Young said the hospital initiated a series of efforts to engage with patients who had missed their vaccinations, encouraging them to receive the shots. He said following up with those families paid off, as the hospital has since caught up from the pandemic lapses. 

Data on COVID-19 vaccines' safety and efficacy in children is still incomplete, but healthcare marketing leaders are preparing to communicate to parents the benefits of vaccinating their children, should the shots be cleared for use in children soon.

Suzanne Bharati Hendery, Renown's chief marketing and customer officer, said her health system is directing parents with questions about vaccines to its "Vax Facts" campaign, which promotes vaccines among parents and children by providing credible vaccine information and addressing concerns.

Mr. Young said Boston Children's is providing parents and children "a steady stream of updated communications" to educate them about COVID-19 and vaccines. For example, the hospital's online hub titled "Answers" features updated FAQs and continually disseminates information via emails, newsletters, webinars, social media and paid and earned media. Mr. Young also said the hospital has ensured its physicians and researchers are consistently available for media interviews about the importance of getting vaccinated.

The hospital also has a group of vaccine ambassadors, who have been providing COVID-19 vaccine education sessions in English and Spanish for community organizations and care providers. Mr. Young said a session is being planned for teenagers.

Ms. Hendery said Renown has collaborated with its local health district to provide COVID-19 vaccines to 57,000 community members, and is prepared to continue this work as vaccination opens up for more age groups.

 

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