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UCLA and Carnegie Mellon researchers show efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine reminders

Daily Bruin

Researchers from UCLA and Carnegie Mellon University found that simple reminders were most effective in encouraging people to get their COVID-19 booster shots.

According to the study, published in March, the researchers aimed to assess insights from behavioral science that could transfer to real-world situations. They found that some text message reminders increased COVID-19 booster shots by between 1 and 2%, but other interventions favored by experts – such as bundling the COVID-19 booster with the flu vaccine – did not meaningfully increase booster uptake.

One intervention the team evaluated was the concept of psychological ownership, which theorizes that people value something more when they feel ownership over it, said Hengchen Dai, one of the study’s co-first authors. To test this in the real world, the researchers sent text messages framing the vaccine as a dose reserved for the patient, rather than generally available, said Silvia Saccardo, a co-first author of the study and an associate professor of social and decision sciences at CMU.

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