Dr. Nathaniel Rabb and colleagues evaluated the efficacy of text messages sent by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to increase COVID-19 vaccination uptake.
An experiment was conducted from May 25 –June 21, 2021. Nudge text messages from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) were sent to one group of participants, and another group did not receive any text messages. Then, vaccination rates of 142,428 participants were analyzed.
Key findings include:
- Text messages encouraging COVID-19 vaccination were successful in increasing vaccine uptake within the first five weeks after the COVID-19 vaccine was released.
- Nudges had no detectable effects on people who were not yet vaccinated in weeks five through eight.
- Language that made participants feel ownership of the vaccine dose (i.e., “a vaccine is waiting for you”) was more effective in increasing uptake than other message types.