Suzanne Suggs, Doug Evans and Clarissa Hsu held a session on “Social marketing and vaccination acceptance: Understanding and addressing determinants of behaviours and mechanisms of change in context” at the annual Vaccination behaviour meeting in Annecy, France 25-27 September 2017. This year’s theme was “Vaccine Acceptance Science, Policy, and Practice in a “Post-Fact” World” and was attended by participants from across the world and sectors (industry, government, NGOs, and academia).

The WHO Sage Working group on Vaccination Hesitancy suggested that social marketing be used to address vaccination hesitancy. This recommendation, combined with various policies, practices and research evidence on the outcomes achieved with social marketing approaches suggests that social marketing will become more widely used and the expectations for positive outcomes will be high. Thus, it is essential that there is a clear and accurate understanding of what exactly social marketing is and what it is not and how social marketing works in context.

In the session, Suzanne introduced social marketing and provided illustrations of what makes a program social marketing, along with a summary of evidence regarding outcomes achieved. Then, Doug presented the importance of creating demand for vaccination through branding and presented his recent work on HPV vaccination in Rwanda. Next, Clarissa discussed the importance of engaging with communities and branding programs and presented her work in Washington State. The discussion that followed was lively and productive and showed there is a great level of interest in the approach and an increased understanding.

Each presentation was recorded and is available online here (See Program, Tuesday September 26):

by Prof. Suzanne Suggs