I Boost Immunity, a website based in British Columbia, has found a novel way to encourage people to learn more about immunisation. The initiative has created interactive online quizzes that make it easy and fun to learn about vaccination and infectious diseases.
To encourage people to take part, vaccines are donated to UNICEF every time someone completes a quiz or shares it on social media.
‘We started by creating content, articles and stories that would be shareable through Facebook and Twitter,’ Ian Roe, I Boost Immunity. ‘Then we said if people share an article, they earn a vaccine for UNICEF.’
From there, the team came up with the idea of creating quizzes, given that this kind of content is popular on social media. They built a bank of around 1,000 questions and began to share it. Uptake was very strong, with around 1 million questions answered by members of the public and more than 700,000 vaccines earned for UNICEF.
Anyone, anywhere can take an I Boost Immunity Quiz and earn vaccines: Take a quiz now!
‘UNICEF was the accelerant that made the site take off – it got people engaged,’ says Ian. ‘The hardest thing to do is to make people care, but they engage with the quizzes because they love getting a reward for what they are doing.’
Remarkably, the reward was not for the participant but for children who benefit from UNICEF immunisation programmes, largely in low- and middle-income countries, and crisis-hit areas of the world. By appealing to altruism, I Boost Immunity had tapped into a well of goodwill that is improving vaccine education locally while supporting immunisation globally.
‘We’ve gone from the typical medical model – where we just provide information – to becoming more pop-culture relevant, and in tune with how new generations are functioning in the world today,’ says Craig Thomson, Immunization Director, British Columbia government.
Inspiring the next generation
Younger people were particularly engaged by the initiative, prompting the I Boost Immunity to launch a new project in April 2018 – Kids Boost Immunity is an interactive classroom-based educational tool. Using quizzes aligned to the school curriculum, it educates children about the immune system, global health, antibiotic resistance, immunisation and more.
The project is expanding fast across Canada, sparking a healthy competition within and between schools. The average number of questions answered per student is almost 200 and the students at one school have already answered 53,000 questions!
‘For students, teachers, public health and children around the world, it’s a win-win-win-win,’ says Ian. ‘It makes learning fun while helping others, supports teachers in meeting learning outcomes, increases literacy and addresses vaccine hesitancy in the next generation, and helps kids around the world to access vaccines.’
Along with Vaccines Today and 60 other websites, I Boost Immunity is a member of the WHO Vaccine Safety Net.
The I Boost Immunity and Kids Boost Immunity programmes are funded by the BC Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada. It is administered by the Public Health Association of British Columbia