More than 169 million Americans have received one or both doses of a coronavirus vaccine, but demand is falling off rapidly. Doses administered peaked at an average of 3.3 million per day in mid-April but are now down to under 1.5 million per day. To meet the goal of getting at least one shot to 70 percent of American adults by July 4, the Biden administration announced Wednesday that it would partner with child-care centers to free up people to get injections, and provide vaccine information (and even doses) through Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons. Anheuser-Busch will give a beer to Americans over 21 if the country meets Biden’s goal, and some states, notably West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, are using cash incentives.
Our research demonstrates that a less-flashy effort might also have a significant effect in boosting vaccination rates: text messages. In a new study involving more than 47,000 people, we identified messages that were able to “nudge” people who were scheduled for a primary-care doctor’s visit to get a flu shot during that visit. Although the study took place last fall, before coronavirus vaccines were widely available, we designed the messages so they could be repurposed for the new vaccines.
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