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Women aged 35-44 ‘most engaged’ in Pakistan vaccine conversations

UNICEF’s digital campaign aimed to increase immunisation at EPI centres

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 14, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago
Posted: Dec 14, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago

Photo: AFP

A recent digital campaign on immunisation run by the United Nations Children’s Fund in collaboration with Facebook has found that women aged 35 to 44 years were most engaged in vaccine conversations on social media, compared to other groups in Pakistan.

Men between 18 to 24 years were least likely to be discussing immunisations, the UNICEF said.

UNICEF Pakistan and Facebook worked together to boost the immunization campaign from the government’s official Facebook page. They managed to reach nearly 7.2 million people in Pakistan. Facebook’s Data for Good team then analysed how people were posting publicly about vaccines on the social media platform.

“We found that women tended to highlight individual and family-related issues,” the organisation said in a statement.

The themes that ranked higher for women were related to symptoms and vaccination schedules for children.

“Meanwhile, posts from men focused on more high-level or systemic aspects of vaccination, including the health system and local government,” UNICEF Pakistan said. 

The organisation has concluded that it might be more effective to target mothers for campaigns regarding health precautions for children at community centres and clinics. To engage fathers, it could be useful to design campaigns that emphasise the country’s efforts to continue vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This digital media campaign with Facebook was a first step to re-engage the public in completing the vaccination schedule of children after health services came to a halt during the COVID emergency,” the UN agency said.

A post-campaign survey comparing users exposed to the campaign ads and a control group that was not exposed suggested the former were more inclined to vaccinate their child at a health centre or felt that it was safe to vaccinate during the pandemic. 

People in Pakistan found illustrations most effective (compared to field photos and videos) in recalling an ad from Facebook, reporting that they were likely to have their child vaccinated at a local health center and in believing that visiting a health center is safe during the pandemic.

“As immunisation services have now resumed, collaboration with Facebook is helping us reach the most vulnerable children and those who were missed, through improved data services and an aggressive awareness campaign,” said Aida Girma, the UNICEF representative in Pakistan.

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