Impact of WhatAapp bots on covid vaccine acceptance among pregnant women in northern India
The COVID-19 vaccine is available in India and approved for pregnant and postpartum women, yet uptake is low due to fears and misconceptions regarding vaccine side effects. Expanding high quality education regarding vaccines is critical for this population. Bots offer an innovative opportunity for automating public health information in an engaged and responsive manner via familiar channels, simulating human to human communication. We propose developing and testing a Bot for behavior change communication about COVID-19 and vaccination to correct misperceptions. Our experienced interdisciplinary team combining expertise in mHealth, human centered design, and community-based interventions at the University of California, San Francisco; the Indraprastha Institute for Information Technology, Delhi; the Post-Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research and the Survival for Women and Children Foundation (SWACH) will conduct formative research among perinatal women in Haryana, India, using a human centered-design approach and develop a Bot for deployment within existing WhatsApp groups facilitated by our community partner, SWACH. We will deploy the Bot over a period of three months and test its impact using back-end and self-reported data at Bot engagement and weekly for one month following initial Bot engagement. At the end of this project, we will understand key stakeholder acceptability and impact on COVID-19 vaccine knowledge and acceptance. Our Bot application can be adapted to other populations and have identified key stakeholder acceptance and impact on COVID-19 vaccine knowledge and acceptance. We anticipate that this innovative project will have a tangible impact on shifting vaccine acceptance through targeted education around COVID-19 among a high-risk population.