Abstract

Despite efforts being made by the Government of Ghana and other interested parties to increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake across the country, widespread misinformation surrounding the vaccine has led to a distrust in state institutions and erroneous safety concerns. To date, medical doctors—trusted health messengers in many communities—have not been systematically mobilized to promote vaccination and dispel misinformation. Researchers in this study will test two different approaches over the course of a year. They will randomize selected communities to be in two comparison groups where one group will receive push SMS messages from doctors and the other group will receive these same messages plus a chance to interact directly with local doctors and other participants in WhatsApp groups. Working with vaccine-hesitant individuals in communities in both northern and southern Ghana and across urban and rural settings, this research team will assess how this mHealth intervention causally affects vaccine attitudes, intentions, and ultimate behaviors. Participants who indicate their intention to get vaccinated following the intervention will be directed to existing Ghana Health Service facilities at the community, subdistrict, and district levels. In addition to increasing Covid-19 vaccination uptake in Ghana, this project seeks to determine whether a Covid-focused intervention also increases generalized trust in doctors and the medical establishment.

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