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COVID-19 and Flu Public Education Campaign

The HHS COVID-19 and Flu Public Education Campaign aims to increase public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures, including mask wearing and social distancing.

The Campaign is focusing on a group called “the movable middle”—Americans who want to protect their health but are hesitant about getting vaccines. The goal is to move these individuals from being hesitant to deciding to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them. The Campaign is also conducting outreach to communities that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic by building partnerships with community leaders and organizations. In addition, the Campaign is planning to help connect the public with government information about COVID-19 and to deliver urgent information in response to emerging needs or outbreaks of disease. The CDC’s Vaccinate with Confidence Strategy provides an operational framework for the Campaign.

Campaign Strategy

The Campaign is promoting public health messages to help audiences make informed decisions about their health and COVID-19 vaccines. Campaign strategy includes the following goals:

  • Building vaccine confidence: Targeting “the movable middle” by educating those who are hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines so they are ready to get the vaccine when it is their turn. The timing of vaccine confidence efforts must align with the increasing availability of vaccines; both the message and messengers must be credible.
  • Preparing the nation: Providing general audiences with information about the vaccine development process as well as tailored messaging to those who are disproportionately affected and in areas of the country with the highest infection rates.
  • Slowing the spread: Providing general audiences with actionable steps individuals can take while waiting for the vaccine to protect themselves, family members, and their community as well as tailored messaging to those who are disproportionately affected and in areas of the country with the highest infection rates.

These messages will be communicated through:

  • Public service announcements and advertisements in television, radio, print, billboards, and paid digital media, including social channels;
  • Websites and social media within HHS agencies and across other government and partner channels; and
  • Earned media stories based on expert interviews, op-eds, and social media engagements, as well as conferences, seminars, expert panels, and webinars.

Campaign messages, based on the latest scientific information, will be targeted to specific audiences identified through market research. Ads will undergo creative testing. Campaign staff will monitor the performance of individual ads in market, prioritizing the continued placement of those that deliver messages most effectively. Once complete, staff will evaluate the overall Campaign to determine whether it helped audiences gain confidence in the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and whether it influenced decisions about getting the vaccine.

Campaign Activities

November

Nov. 24: Launched combatCOVID.hhs.gov, a new website (in English and Spanish) highlighting the importance of clinical trials in preventing and treating COVID-19. The website was created in close collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Operation Warp Speed. The Spanish version of the site, combateCOVID.hhs.gov, was launched on December 2.
Goals: Build Vaccine Confidence, Prepare the Nation, Slow the Spread


December

Dec. 2: Began promoting both the full-length video and shorter clips of HHS’s vaccine awareness video, COVID-19 Vaccine Update | How Vaccines are Developed  through paid YouTube and social campaigns.

Dec. 16: Released two new 60-second radio ads in English and Spanish. The ads will be in rotation through February 14 on more than 1,000 English radio stations in 75 markets and more than 60 Spanish-language stations in 30 markets. The radio ads are projected to reach 82% of the population at least one time and deliver 3.8 billion impressions (number of exposures)
Goal: Slow the Spread

Dec. 23: The U.S. Surgeon General, VADM Jerome Adams, was interviewed for iHeartMedia’s NewsTalk holiday programming, which aired on 130 stations. The discussion is available on host Ryan Gorman’s podcast.
Goal: Prepare the Nation

Dec. 29: The Ad Council, in collaboration with the HHS Campaign, launched four short videos featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci and a diverse coalition of leading medical and health care experts sharing information about vaccine development and safety with their fellow doctors and nurses.
Goal: Build Vaccine Confidence

Dec. 29: Hosted a background media briefing to describe the HHS Campaign and its collaborations, with 44 reporters attending. Media included news services such as Bloomberg, Associated Press, and Reuters, as well as national outlets such as ABC, CBS, FOX, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. USA Today published a story about the campaign on December 30, as did Fierce Pharma, with syndication on Yahoo! News and MSN. Total audience reach of these placements was more than 700 million, measured by unique visitors per month (UVM) of news outlet websites.
Goals: Build Vaccine Confidence, Prepare the Nation, Slow the Spread


January

Jan. 7: Several HHS leaders (Dr. Anthony Fauci, RADM Felicia Collins, Dr. Nancy Messonnier) participated in a historic town hall conversation with Black America about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they can work together to save lives. The event was organized by the Black Coalition Against COVID-19.
Goal: Prepare the Nation


Campaign Resources

Videos

Tell Me More about Vaccines: Expert video on how vaccines work

Tell Me More Clips: Vaccine video clips for social media


Radio

The Waiting

Crucial


Social Media Assets

Promotions created for combatCOVID.hhs.gov

A young adult wearing a rainbow mask holds up a peace sign. Join a prevention trial and help fight COVID-19. Learn more at combatCOVID.hhs.gov.

A patient wearing a mask speaking to a physician who is wearing a mask and face shield. Have a postivie COVID-19 test? Join a trail for better treatments. Learn more at combatCOVID.hhs.gov.

Content created by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
Content last reviewed on January 13, 2021