An Immunization Booster with a Twist
Innovative online platform seeks to develop a peer-to-peer network of
immunization champions to raise ‘community immunity’
November 12th, 2014
For Immediate Release Victoria, BC When many of us think of an immunization booster, we think of the extra dose of vaccine given to ‘boost’ protection against disease. For the Public Health Association of BC’s (PHABC) ‘I Boost Immunity’ platform, however, the term has another meaning; Immunization Boosters are people that seek to raise ‘community immunity’ by using social media to share information about the benefits of immunization in exchange for points, badges and rewards.
The online program was inspired by declining immunization rates in some areas in BC and the concern that misinformation and complacency has resulted in some parents choosing to skip certain vaccines or avoid immunizations all together. I Boost Immunity builds on lessons learned from previous approaches to immunization education by acknowledging the silent majority of people that do vaccinate their children.
“I Boost Immunity is based on the idea that giving people a place to feel proud about their choice vaccinate themselves or their kids is long overdue,” says Michael Barnes, Executive Director of the Public Health Association of BC. “We wanted a way to channel people’s support for immunization by using social media to ‘spread the good stuff’ about the role vaccination plays in keeping us safe from disease. I Boost Immunity does that by crowdsourcing everyday British Columbians to provide a real life perspective of how important vaccines are in protecting us not just as individuals, but as a community as a whole.”
Anyone can register to become an Immunization Booster by visiting www.IBoostImmunity.ca. Boosters can share articles and stories through Facebook, Twitter and email all from one place. The platform includes a ‘Tell us your story’ application that encourages people to share why they support immunization and ‘Booster U’, a short training course designed to help prepare new Boosters to become confident and successful immunization champions.
A distinctive feature of the program is that Boosters are awarded points for each activity they perform. As points are accumulated past specific milestones, Boosters are rewarded with various online achievement badges recognizing their efforts. Boosters can also redeem their points for I Boost Immunity themed rewards.
At its core, I Boost Immunity believes that educating others using stories combined with scientific facts can have a real and lasting impact among friends, families and co-workers. Ultimately the success of the program will be based on ‘moving the needle’ when it comes to raising coverage especially in areas that have lower than optimal immunization rates in British Columbia.
For more information on how you can join this conversation on I Boost Immunity, please go to www.iboostimmunity.ca.
More About I Boost Immunity
I Boost Immunity is a website operated by the Public Health Association of BC in consultation with the provincial Immunization Promotions Working Group who both share the same goal: to improve the health of British Columbians by continuing to reduce the number of infections by vaccine-preventable diseases, along with the illness, disability and death that they cause.
Our mission is to improve the health of British Columbians by continuing to reduce the number of infections by vaccine-preventable diseases, along with the illness, disability and death that they cause. We do that by providing solid, evidence-based information on immunization to individuals as well as health and immunization providers, along with tools to make it easier for BC families to get immunized.