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CDC Preteen and Teen Vaccine Communication Campaign

Current Goal

Improve adolescent vaccination rates for Tdap, MCV4, HPV vaccine and Flu vaccine.


Current Objectives

  1. Raise awareness among parents that adolescents also need vaccinations.
  2. Educate parents about adolescent vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
  3. Educate health care providers about the adolescent immunization recommendations, including recent changes to the recommendations.
  4. Provide communication tools for public health professionals, immunization programs and immunization providers to improve awareness and knowledge of adolescent vaccines.
  5. Educate adolescents about vaccine-preventable diseases and the adolescent vaccines to promote communication between adolescents and their parents and health care providers.
  6. Communicate the importance of improving completion rates for the HPV vaccine 3-dose series.

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Current Priority Audiences

  1. Parents of adolescents 9-18 years old
  2. Health care providers for adolescents 9-18 years old
  3. Adolescents 9-18 years old
  4. Public Health Professionals promoting immunization

History of the CDC Adolescent Immunization Communication Campaign

Starting in 2005, three new vaccines were licensed and recommended for adolescents. May 2005 saw the recommendation for meningococcal conjugate vaccine at 11 to 12 years of age during a preventive health care visit. In March 2006, the new Tdap vaccine was recommended for the same age group. By March 2007 recommendations were published for vaccination of 11-12 girls with the quadrivalent HPV vaccine. These immunization recommendations supported the adolescent [vaccination] platform concept, in which immunizations draw preteens to routine health visits in the medical home during which other preventive care services could be delivered.

To promote the new adolescent vaccines, CDC established a preteen vaccine communications campaign. Formative research began in December 2006 with more than 40 focus groups conducted across the United States with caregivers of preteens. The focus groups provided insight on caregiver knowledge and attitudes about preteen vaccine recommendations. This testing also included key messages, graphics and communication materials.

CDC officially launched the campaign in August 2007 to coincide with the National Immunization Awareness Month observance. Target audiences included African-American, Caucasian and Hispanic parents of preteens, as well as healthcare providers such as pediatricians, family physicians, and nurses who regularly serve preteens. Campaign goals included: 1) Motivating caregivers of 11 and 12 year olds to have their preteens immunized with Tdap, Flu, MCV4 and HPV for girls; 2) Motivating caregivers to get their preteens caught up on missed childhood vaccines; 3) Increasing awareness in African American, Hispanic, Korean, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Vietnamese parents of immunization recommendations and benefits and thereby increase immunization rates and prevent disparities; 4) Promoting the 11 to 12 year old medical check-up; and 5) Providing healthcare providers with educational materials to facilitate their efforts.

Key campaign elements included print materials, web content, a radio media tour in English and Spanish, media roundtables, and partnership development. Radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) were developed based on audience research and promoted to stations across the country. Work with partner organizations began and provided additional opportunities to reach the priority audiences. Advertisements and matte articles were placed in several long–lead magazines.

In 2008, the target audience was expanded to include American Indian/Alaska Native, Korean American and Vietnamese American audiences based on their increased risk for cervical cancer. Focus groups were conducted on the messages, graphics and materials to be used with each specific audience, in order to develop culturally appropriated and targeted print materials. The print campaign was supported by both media and partner outreach. Partner organizations were contracted with to provide outreach and education to their respective communities.

In 2009 a bivalent HPV vaccine was approved by the FDA and the quadrivalent vaccine was approved for use in males. ACIP voted to include the bivalent vaccine in the recommendation for females and to create a permissive recommendation for the use of the quadrivalent vaccine in males. The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program voted to expand coverage of the quadrivalent vaccine to include male.

CDC launched a digital media campaign in 2010, expanding the preteen vaccine campaign’s presence on the web, via mobile platform and within social networks. Tailored content was developed for each specific digital media activity.

A review of data provided by the National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen) demonstrated that while immunization rates for the new vaccines were increasing, there was definite room for improvement. Additionally in 2011, ACIP voted to add a booster dose for MCV.

The campaign added an objective to improve awareness of the vaccines recommendations among parents of 9-18 year olds. This served to increase the target audience to parents of kids not yet of the recommended ages as well as parents of older teens needing catch-up vaccine and/or booster vaccine. Formative research began in spring 2011 for materials and message development to support the new campaign objective. The website was redesigned to reflect the new objective as well as changes in the recommendations since the initial launch of the campaign.

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Adolescent Campaign Materials

Print materials and podcasts.

Adolescent campaign communication resources
Posters, fact sheets, flyers, matte releases, PSAs, podcasts.

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