News Scan for Jun 14, 2022

News brief

Texting as effective as calling for encouraging COVID vaccine uptake

Automated text messages were as effective as direct phone calls in encouraging study participants to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a JAMA Network Open study yesterday from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania,.

The randomized control trial was conducted from Apr 29 and Jul 6, 2021, in Philadelphia and included 16,000 participants who were separated into three groups: one receiving phone calls from the health system to set up a vaccine appointment, another receiving an automated text later followed up by a phone call, and the last receiving only an automated text asking particiants to call for an appointment.

The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who completed the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within 1 month of the outreach. The proportion of patients who then received vaccines in these three groups was 3.6%, 3.1%, and 3.3%, respectively.

"The take-away is that the text arms of our study were comparable to the phone-only arm, but the text messaging is less resource-intensive since a live call center only needs to talk to those who are already interested instead of making cold calls to everyone on the list," said Shivan Mehta, MD, MBA, MSHP, of Penn Medicine, the lead study author, in a University of Pennsylvania press release.

Text messages and phone calls were also more likely to reach participants who did not have an email address, the authors said. They also noted that the overall response rate to text messages and direct calls was low, but there was no control group of people who did not receive an intervention.
Jun 13 JAMA Netw Open
Jun 13 University of Pennsylvania
press release


Two measles cases confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said today that it has begun an investigation into two confirmed measles cases.

The infections are in two preschool-aged children in Hennepin County who reported symptoms shortly after returning from a country where measles is endemic. Neither child was vaccinated, and one was hospitalized because of measles complications. MDH says it is working to notify people who may have been exposed and has notified healthcare providers in the state to be alert for patients with signs or symptoms of measles.

MDH notes that some communities in Minnesota continue to have low vaccination rates for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), and that MMR vaccination rates have further declined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This case emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated for diseases, such as measles, which can be prevented with vaccines," State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield, MD, said in an MDH news release. "Vaccines are extremely effective for preventing measles. It's important that we work on getting our immunization rates back up where they need to be so that all children in Minnesota are protected."

As of Jun 3, a total of three measles cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from two US jurisdictions in 2022, and 49 were reported from five jurisdictions in 2021. Minnesota has had four cases of measles since a major outbreak in 2017.
Jun 14 MDH news release

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