CHRI joins study on boosting child COVID-19 vaccine rates

From left, Gwenn Skar, MD, and El Kerns, PhD

From left, Gwenn Skar, MD, and El Kerns, PhD

The Child Health Research Institute is participating in an National Institutes of Health study designed to help parents learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines and to support their ability to access vaccination for their children.

The Improving COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Using mHealth Tools (MoVeUP) App Study is funded through the National Institutes of Health Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. ECHO’s Institutional Developmental Award States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network helps address disparities in pediatric research by including children from rural or underserved populations in clinical trials and building pediatric research capacity in states with historically low NIH funding.

Prior to the launch of the study, researchers conducted focus groups and interviews to assess factors that influence parents’ COVID-19 decision-making. They used the information to develop a mobile health app, designed to help parents learn and decide about vaccinating their children against COVID-19. Researchers now will conduct a clinical trial to test the mobile app for its impact on pediatric COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

“We are extremely pleased to offer the MoVeUP study in Nebraska. Its mobile app will serve as a trusted source of information about pediatric COVID-19 vaccines and hopefully lead to increased vaccination rates,” said Gwenn Skar, MD, assistant professor in the UNMC Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s and the study’s site investigator. “This study and its use of a mobile health app to relay accurate information has significant implications in a time when medical misinformation is so prevalent.”

El Kerns, PhD, assistant professor in the UNMC Division of Child Health Policy, said, “Our team developed software to provide tailored vaccine decision support tools to parents still deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. UNMC and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center are leading the tool’s deployment in the MoVeUP trial.

“We are excited about its potential to better protect children both locally and nationally by increasing pediatric vaccination rates.” 

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