Massachusetts: Provider-Parent Communication Intervention


Researchers at the University of Massachusetts developed an intervention to help healthcare providers communicate with hesitant parents about vaccinating their children against COVID-19.


COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy posed a barrier for getting those ages 5 to 17 vaccinated at a rate closer to the rate among adults. This hesitancy can be attributed to concerns about safety, side effects, and a perceived lack of negative outcomes for children who do contract COVID-19. However, high levels of trust are reported between families and their pediatricians, who advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine. This presents an opportunity to promote vaccination to facilitate a return to normal social activity. Healthcare researchers at the University of Massachusetts leveraged this information to identify strategies for boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates.


Accounting for the importance of multicomponent interventions and relationships between families and providers, University of Massachusetts researchers developed the novel health intervention CONFIDENCE: Clinicians for Effective COVID-19 Vaccine Conversations for Youth and Adolescents. This intervention is designed to assist healthcare providers in their conversations with parents who are hesitant or resistant to getting their child vaccinated against COVID-19. The CONFIDENCE intervention comprised of posters with stories about personal vaccine experiences, a presumptive vaccination counseling model, provider education on motivational interviewing, and parent-facing vaccination materials. CONFIDENCE underwent beta-testing in a pediatric primary care clinic. Healthcare provider interviews and family focus groups were conducted to supplement information from existing related, successful vaccine interventions to inform the creation of CONFIDENCE. The initial qualitative data collection focused on understanding factors that influence parental attitudes and decision-making around vaccine administration.


The researchers conducted an evaluation through analyzing provider interview and pre-post parental survey data. Providers regarded CONFIDENCE as both feasible and acceptable. Survey results indicated a general improvement in attitude towards the COVID-19 vaccine after experiencing the intervention.

The CONFIDENCE intervention provided recommendations for how healthcare providers can communicate with parents about the COVID-19 vaccine. These recommendations were developed in a rigorous, scientific way. While beta-testing encountered some challenges with intervention administration, the development of this intervention provides a scientifically credible option for addressing nuances of parental opposition to child vaccination, giving providers another tool to promote vaccination rates.

Supplemental Resources

Years: 2022

Locations: Massachusetts

Programmatic Areas: Adolescent Immunization, Communication, COVID-19, Public Health Functions

Key Words: Adolescents, college and universities, Communication, COVID-19, Health Promotion, Immunization Education

Evidence Based: No

Evaluations: No

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