CPHA Canvax

Public Health Association of British Columbia

Project Title: Kids Boost Immunity (KBI)
Funding Recipient: Public Health Association of British Columbia
Project Contact: Ian Roe – Content Strategist (ian.roe@bccdc.ca)
Project Period: February 8th, 2018 – March 31st, 2020


About the Project

This project is developing Kids Boost Immunity (KBI), a school-based, online learning platform that is designed to raise student literacy around the importance of vaccines by affecting changes in knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Using gamification through a series of online quizzes, videos and articles, a student earns one vaccine in support of UNICEF Canada for every immunization-related question answered correctly. KBI leverages learning about science and social studies and taps into altruistic affinities by creating a tangible reward for kids to help kids and makes learning about immunization fun and rewarding. 

KBI is designed to reach Canadian school-aged children in grades 5-9 (9-14 years of age) in science and social studies classes, and will target schools with vaccination rates under the provincial average.  Over the course of a three-year period, KBI’s objective is to implement the program in up to 1,500 schools across the country.  

Goal

The primary goal of Kids Boost Immunity is to raise literacy around the importance of immunization by improving knowledge, attitudes and beliefs (KAB) around this issue. This will be accomplished by targeting schools with underperforming immunization rates and aligning the KBI content to science and social studies curriculums in Canadian classrooms in grades 5-9.  By improving KAB around immunization among school aged children, we believe we can set the right conditions to positively impact vaccination rates in schools and within the general population.

Objectives 

  • Build and maintain the KBI Platform
  • Create content to post on KBI that is age appropriate and fits with subject areas in school curricula
  • Create teacher support materials
  • Recruit schools to participate in the platform
  • Promote KBI through public health networks, ministries of education, and First Nations school administrators
  • KBI classroom challenge - Develop a contest designed to encourage schools to compete with one another

Outcomes

  • Improved health literacy around vaccination in Canadian students 9-14 years of age.  
  • Provide new evidence to support public health use of online interventions for vaccines and other important health promotion issues in school aged children.
  • Equip students with the knowledge to make more informed decisions about vaccination (now and/or in the future) and to educate others (peers, parents) about why immunization is important

The challenge that the project addresses

Kids Boost Immunity is designed to be a school-based program that primarily aims to raise student literacy around the importance of vaccines by affecting changes in knowledge, attitudes and beliefs (KAB). Positive changes in KAB are a precursor to behaviour change that will manifest in raising vaccination rates for school age vaccines. At present, many vaccines given to school children, such as the HPV vaccine, are far below provincial and national targets. This provides the opportunity to demonstrate a greater change in vaccination rates. The hypothesis of this project rests on the premise that promoting the right intervention (a fun educational activity that engages children) at the right time (just prior to children getting vaccinated or as part of their curriculum in science or social studies), and in the right place (a school), can positively impact knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours (i.e. rates) with respect to vaccination in schools in Canada. 

The goals and activities of the proposed project align with research indicating that vaccine hesitancy can be addressed through fun and interactive public health approaches early in life and that levering digital technologies may provide a way to deliver these messages to children in a way that complements existing school curricula. Although there is no precedent for a platform such as KBI, it is based on an already established and successful vaccine education platform for adults called I Boost Immunity, which has already gained national and international notoriety.  

Lessons learned

The greatest lesson learned through the pilot and testing phases of KBI thus far has to do with how to motivate students to engage with the site content. Specifically, the most important motivator for learning is the site’s ability to tap into a student’s sense of altruism by providing a mechanism for ‘global citizenship’ through an ability to earn vaccines for other children around the world through UNICEF. Other prime motivators for learning have to do with the gamification mechanics built into the platform that include the chance to do online quizzes and compete with others students, classes and schools.  

The most important lesson learned from the development of KBI educational content is that KBI materials ideally should be aligned as closely as possible to existing provincial and territorial curriculum.  Otherwise, teachers have told administrators that KBI will be perceived as more of a novelty and never gain real traction in the classroom.  To this end, it took 18 months to develop 30+ lessons for teachers that fit with existing curricula outcomes for students in grades 5-9 across Canada.  This has culminated in the creation of KBI provincial and territorial curriculum ‘fit’ documents designed to link existing curriculum outcomes and expectations to specific lessons on Kids Boost Immunity.      

About the Public Health Association of British Columbia 


Kids Boost immunity is funded through the BC Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada. PHABC administers the program with coordination of the site through the BC Centre for Disease Control. PHABC is affiliated with the Canadian Public Health Association, and works closely with regional, national and international partners to advance the development and implementation of healthy public policy, and facilitate research that supports public health. Its national linkages enable the PHABC to participate in dialogue and action on matters of interest across Canada.

 

Last Reviewed: October 16, 2018