The Behavior Change for Good Initiative (BCFG) at the Wharton School and the School of Arts & Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit, today released findings from two of the largest-ever research studies aimed at increasing vaccine adoption.
Conducted with Walmart and two regional health systems—Penn Medicine and Geisinger—these studies reveal that simple communications that reminded individuals a flu shot was “waiting” or “reserved” for them proved most effective, boosting vaccination rates by up to 11%. The promising results can be adapted to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
“While the vaccines are different, we face the same behavioral challenges in encouraging uptake of the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations,” says Katy Milkman, Wharton professor, BCFG co-director, and lead author on both studies. “Rather than convincing the skeptics, we focused on encouraging people who want the vaccine to actually receive it. Our results suggest a promising way to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations at scale. We can potentially help save lives for less than 10 cents per person.”