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The OECS and Meta Collaborate to Promote Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccines in the Caribbean

The OECS and Meta Collaborate to Promote Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccines in the Caribbean

OECS and Meta Joint Case Study

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in partnership with Data for Good at Meta, recently released the results of a data-informed digital campaign aimed at promoting the COVID-19 vaccines in English-and-French-speaking countries and territories of the Caribbean. The campaign reached over 2.7 million people, and the team found that in the English-speaking Caribbean, messages emphasising personal choice and social norms can be effective in increasing    positive attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccines. These takeaways may assist in the development of future COVID-19 vaccine campaigns.


In 2021, the OECS ran several digital campaigns to promote the COVID-19 vaccines in the Caribbean. However, by the end of 2021, COVID-19 vaccinations in the region were the lowest of all sub-regions in the Americas according to PAHO data. Moreover, in this same time frame the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) regional health survey of social media users reported high hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccines in several countries. For these reasons, the OECS was interested in working with Meta’s Data for Good team to gain insights into people’s main concerns about COVID-19 vaccines and design successful outreach strategies.

The campaign ran from March 25th 2022 to April 15th 2022 and targeted the following Caribbean countries and territories: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (French territory), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos Islands.

From Insights to Action

To aid in message development, the Data for Good team at Meta analysed public Facebook posts about COVID-19 vaccines from October-November 2021. This analysis revealed that many people emphasised their personal right to receive or refuse COVID vaccines and frustration with ongoing COVID-19 -related restrictions preventing meaningful recreational and social activities.

 Another theme was concern about vaccine safety and potential side effects; this was also one of the top reasons for hesitancy according to a CARPHA’s survey. Questions about vaccine effectiveness and importance also came up as some felt that immunity from natural infection was a good way to end the pandemic. On the other hand, some posts highlighted concerns over the surge in COVID-19 cases in recent months and fears about severe COVID infections, with some emphasising that vaccination provides the best defence against severe infection.


Given the findings of the public post research from Meta, the OECS decided to explore two outreach strategies – social norming messages and personal choice combined with aspirational messaging that showed how people can reunite and get back to pre-pandemic activities. Both messages attempted to address vaccine safety and efficacy concerns. In the English-speaking Caribbean we were able to compare the two approaches, while in the French-speaking Caribbean limited audience size made it necessary to combine the two into a single campaign.

The social norming approach emphasised how widely accepted the vaccines were, specifically that millions in the Caribbean and more than half of the world’s population were safely vaccinated against COVID-19. The campaign also highlighted that local doctors approved of COVID vaccines. The message was meant to counter perceptions that the vaccines were unsafe while underscoring the accepted behaviour of getting vaccinated.

The personal choice and aspirational campaign highlighted vaccination as a choice. The campaign promoted self-efficacy, i.e. by getting the vaccine you are taking a step to protect yourself and your loved ones. This campaign approach is aligned with previous behavioural science research that found that people who are hesitant towards vaccines are more likely to value personal liberty. Lastly, given some frustration with COVID-19 restrictions, the campaign used an aspirational tone and imagery, depicting recreational activities that the pandemic restricted.

Viewers of each campaign were randomly divided into a group that saw the ads and another that did not. Viewers from both groups were randomly surveyed to help determine whether the ads had successfully influenced attitudes on vaccination.



The campaigns reached over 2.7 million people and generated over 174 thousand clicks to the OECS COVID hub.

In the English-speaking Caribbean, we found that both the social norming and personal choice campaigns were effective, although social norming yielded stronger outcomes overall. The social norming campaign achieved high, statistically significant ad recall results, suggesting that the content was engaging and/or memorable. This strategy worked particularly well for promoting vaccine importance and effectiveness, leading to a +2.0 percentage point increase for both these outcomes. This campaign was also effective in promoting social approval of the vaccines. The English personal choice campaign was      effective in communicating that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

In the French-speaking Caribbean, the campaign was not successful in shifting perceptions of vaccine effectiveness, importance, safety or social approval, although it did have high ad recall, indicating the content was memorable.

Table 1. Brand Lift Survey Results Highlighting Where Exposure to the Ads Caused a Lift (Treatment vs Control)


 Survey Question

English Campaign:

Social Norming

English Campaign:

Personal Choice + Aspirational

French Campaign:

Both Messages

Do you recall seeing an ad for vaccines by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) online or on a mobile device in the last 2 days?

+1.9 Pts*

+0.5 Pts

+3.0 Pts*

When you think of most people whose opinion you value, how much would they approve of people getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

+1.5 Pts*

+1.4 Pts^

No Lift

How effective do you think the COVID-19 vaccination is in protecting against COVID-19?

+2.0 Pts*

+0.3 Pts

+0.5 Pts

How important do you feel a vaccine is to protect against COVID-19?

+2.0 Pts*

+0.4 Pts

+0.7 Pts

How safe do you think a COVID-19 vaccine is for people like you?

No Lift

+2.3 Pts*

+0.9 Pts

*Statistically significant at the 90% confidence level

^Statistically significant at the 80% confidence level

Influencing Vaccine Decision-making Moving Forward

A number of insights from this campaign may be useful for future vaccination outreach in the Caribbean and other regions. The results of this test suggest that future vaccination outreach can consider the following strategies:

  • Consider social norming messages to emphasise that the vaccines are widely accepted in the region. The results of the campaign demonstrate that highlighting what others in their community are doing can help communicate vaccination as an expected behaviour and build vaccine confidence.
  • Consider personal choice and aspirational messages to promote people’s self-efficacy to get the vaccine. This messaging may encourage people to act on their autonomy and take control of their health. In addition to promoting self-efficacy, it is important to underscore the benefits of the vaccines, including that they can help us safely return to activities that were restricted due to the pandemic.
  • Emphasise the safety record and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. Results from both public posts analysis and the CARPHA survey of social media users demonstrated that people have concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness. This suggests that regardless of the overarching outreach strategy, in the Caribbean it is important to address these concerns directly.


“Promoting Vaccine Confidence is an important role for the OECS Commission alongside supporting continued appropriate public health measures, and sustained health system capacity to respond to COVID-19, as economies reopen and rebound following this devasting pandemic”

- Dr. Carlene Radix, Head of the Human and Social Division at the OECS Commission.    

“The OECS has been a critical Data for Good partner in the region for responding to natural disasters and promoting positive health outcomes in the Caribbean. The OECS and Meta worked to ensure the campaign was data-informed and that the content was culturally relevant for the Caribbean. We hope these insights and results can help organisations conduct further outreach to people in the Caribbean”

- Kadeem Khan, Research Manager for Data for Good at Meta.


Contact us
Loverly Anthony Head of Communications, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Loverly Anthony Head of Communications, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
About The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Morne Fortune
Saint Lucia