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    CDC: HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Campaign

    Shifting mindsets to improve the rate of cancer vaccinations.

Recommended for boys and girls ages 11–12, the HPV vaccine protects against many HPV infections that cause cancer and other diseases. Despite its clear benefits, HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. lag well below those of other adolescent vaccinations. To increase the quality of clinician HPV vaccination recommendations for 11- and 12-year-olds, and to increase parent acceptance of the HPV vaccine for their children, Hager Sharp developed a multifaceted communications campaign that included strategic planning and research, branding, partner and stakeholder engagement, event and conference support, paid media planning and placement, creative materials development, digital engagement, and evaluation.

Compared with a 2015 pre-campaign survey, a 2016 post-campaign survey among pediatricians found that the percent of pediatricians who strongly agree they are influential in parents’ decisions regarding the HPV vaccine increased nearly 10% and the percent of pediatricians who said they are likely to tell their patients that the HPV vaccine is extremely important increased more than 13%.

United States

Increasing HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. to 80% would prevent 53,000 future cases of cervical cancer.

Uk

HPV vaccination rates have reached 86%

As a result, HPV infections dropped from 1 in 5 young women to just 1 in 15

Australia

Introduced free HPV vaccines in 2007

Since then, not only have cervical cancer rates declined, health experts have noted a 61% decrease in cases of genital warts

Rwanda

First African country to introduce HPV vaccine

93% of 6th-grade Rwandan girls were vaccinated against HPV infection in the first year of the vaccination program

  • United States

    Increasing HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. to 80% would prevent 53,000 future cases of cervical cancer.

  • Uk

    HPV vaccination rates have reached 86%

    As a result, HPV infections dropped from 1 in 5 young women to just 1 in 15

  • Australia

    Introduced free HPV vaccines in 2007

    Since then, not only have cervical cancer rates declined, health experts have noted a 61% decrease in cases of genital warts

  • Rwanda

    First African country to introduce HPV vaccine

    93% of 6th-grade Rwandan girls were vaccinated against HPV infection in the first year of the vaccination program

    United States M

    Increasing HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. to 80% would prevent 53,000 future cases of cervical cancer.

    Uk M

    HPV vaccination rates have reached 86%

    As a result, HPV infections dropped from 1 in 5 young women to just 1 in 15

    Rawanda M

    First African country to introduce HPV vaccine

    93% of 6th-grade Rwandan girls were vaccinated against HPV infection in the first year of the vaccination program

    Australia M

    Introduced free HPV vaccines in 2007

    Since then, not only have cervical cancer rates declined, health experts have noted a 61% decrease in cases of genital warts

    Strategic Planning

    From the start, we approached this challenge through a strategic lens. While most adolescent vaccination campaigns target parents initially, Hager Sharp made a different recommendation. Because CDC’s own data state that a health care provider recommendation is the single biggest predictor of vaccination, we developed a campaign that began with a heavy focus on health care providers and strong peer-to-peer clinician engagement before expanding the target audience to include parents of adolescents.

    To help inform the health care provider campaign, we conducted formative research among pediatricians. Based on our findings, we designed key program tactics to include an emphasis on ages 11–12 as the critical time to vaccinate. Then we developed a plan to leverage pediatricians as influencers and focused on reinforcing the HPV vaccine as a critical cancer prevention tool.

    Once the health care provider materials had been developed and implemented, we developed a strategic plan focusing on parents. This included positioning the HPV vaccine as a critical cancer prevention tool and implementing a targeted earned media campaign during the summer and back-to-school season.

    From 2015 to 2016, the number of pediatricians who said they recommend that 11- and 12-year-old patients get the HPV vaccine increased more than 5%.
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    Branding & Messaging

    In response to the research-confirmed finding that HPV vaccine’s perception as a “sensitive topic” (i.e., HPV is transmitted via intimate skin-to-skin contact) was a barrier to parent acceptance—and to clinicians providing strong, effective recommendations—we created an educational campaign where the key message was also the name and tagline of the campaign: HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention. Under this brand, we shifted the conversation from transmission to cancer prevention, allowing us to evolve the messaging and weave the cancer prevention theme into all communications.

    Along with naming the campaign and developing the messaging, we created a graphic identity for all campaign materials, including color palette, typeface, unifying graphic elements such as icons and illustrations, and photography and animation styles. To leverage as much equity as possible, we made sure the look of the campaign worked for both the health care provider audience and the consumer audience, while allowing content to be as targeted as possible. Most importantly, the graphic identity complied with CDC brand guidelines.

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    Hpv Cdc Creative Development

    Creative Development

    After developing the brand, we spent time concepting and creating materials in support of the campaign. For clinicians, materials included a modular conference booth and all conference materials—from hanging banners to shareable in-booth materials including postcards and fact sheets. Messages around “normalizing” the HPV vaccine were incorporated into clinician-targeted ads and collateral materials, with the call to action to recommend HPV vaccine in the “same way and on the same day” as the other two adolescent vaccines regularly administered at ages 11–12, Tdap and meningococcal.

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    For the parent-targeted advertising, we developed a series of digital ads, including interactive “true/false” banner ads and ads that connected getting the HPV vaccine to other preventive actions that keep children safe, such as wearing bike helmets. We also developed a series of videos that ran online and in doctors’ offices. Some of these videos featured health care providers who are also parents of adolescents, providing testimonials about the importance of HPV vaccination for both their patients and their own sons and daughters. Other videos included parent testimonials on the value of cancer prevention.

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    • HPV Video 3
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    Hpv Cdc Paid Media 1

    Partnerships

    Just one provider making an effective recommendation can result in the immunization of many adolescents. We focused our initial emphasis on partnership development with pediatric clinicians and professional organizations as the instrument of change that would provide the best return and most meaningful results for this campaign. Clinicians who are “recommenders,” including pediatricians, family doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, all offer the potential to provide support, to amplify and extend key messages, and to implement and model calls to action.

    Hager Sharp managed partner engagement, coordinated and executed a series of highly attended webinars, and planned and implemented an extensive campaign presence at key national medical organization conferences. We identified, vetted, and coordinated speaking engagements for the campaign’s pre-existing Speakers Bureau, including hospital “grand rounds” and chapter meetings of professional organizations in priority states where vaccination rates were the lowest.

    We also built a partner engagement and tracking database for CDC staff to record partner information and collaboration potential, including level of interest, audience reach, and communication channels. Using this database, CDC staff can track partner involvement and outcomes of engagement activities, as well as generate partner profile reports to help them better understand how an organization can benefit from its outreach and communications strategies.

    Hpv Cdc Partnerships
    Hpv Cdc Events Conferences 1

    Events & Conferences

    Recognizing that key medical conferences would be a critical opportunity for meaningful, face-to-face engagement with the target clinician audience, we planned and implemented an extensive campaign presence at the national meetings of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This included the design and development of an extensive exhibit and interaction space at which CDC hosted in-booth presentations led by clinicians and CDC experts to help participants understand the facts behind the HPV vaccine and to train them to make more effective HPV vaccine recommendations.

    We coordinated and executed 12 webinars that drew over 8,300 participants and consistently earned above-standard registrant-to-attendee conversion rates.

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    Research & Evaluation

    Formative Research: To help inform the health care provider campaign, we conducted formative research among pediatricians, which consisted of in-depth interviews and an online survey of 700 pediatricians. Based on our findings, we refined key program tactics to include an emphasis on ages 11–12 as the critical time to vaccinate. We then developed a plan to leverage pediatricians as influencers and to focus on reinforcing the HPV vaccine as a critical cancer prevention tool to motivate pediatricians.

    Evaluation: To measure the success of the health care provider campaign, we conducted pre- and post-campaign surveys among parents and additional post-campaign surveys among pediatricians. Aligned with the Valid Metrics Framework, our evaluation included outcome and process metrics.

    The evaluation of all metrics exceeded expectations. A 2016 post-campaign survey among pediatricians found the following changes compared with a 2015 pre-campaign survey. All changes are statistically significant.

    The percent of pediatricians who said they recommend that 11- and 12-year-old patients get the HPV vaccine at the current visit increased from 67.2% to 72.4%.

    The percent of pediatricians who strongly agree they are influential in parents’ decisions regarding the HPV vaccine increased from 35.5% to 45.2%.

    The percent of pediatricians who said they are likely to tell their patients that the HPV vaccine is extremely important increased from 37.1% to 50.9%.