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August 27, 2021 Carly Helfand0

Right now, the U.S public health officials, vaccine makers and other groups are striving to educate the public – and combat misinformation – about COVID-19 vaccines in a drive to improve vaccination rates and end the pandemic. But as new data show, it’s not just COVID-19 shots that patients need to learn more about.

A pair of recent Phreesia surveys, given to a combined total of nearly 345,000 patients when they checked in for doctors’ appointments, found that although patients largely recognize the importance of vaccines, many have concerns around safety and side effects -even when it comes to older, more established products. And that’s where pharma marketers need to step in.

In the first of the two surveys, taken by nearly 10,000 parents of adolescents between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10, 2020, respondents generally believed that childhood vaccines were effective, with 62.5% strongly agreeing and 28.6% agreeing. Caregivers concurred in similar percentages that childhood vaccines were important for their children’s health and that getting vaccines was a good way to protect children from disease.

But the survey also yielded worrying results for vaccine makers and public health officials. Close to 16% of parents either agreed or strongly agreed that their children didn’t need vaccines for diseases that are no longer common, and 25% didn’t have an opinion either way about such vaccinations.

Combined, those figures indicate that more than 40% of parents aren’t sure they need to vaccinate their children for diseases that aren’t currently prevalent – even though the rarity of those diseases hinges on vaccines and the herd immunity they confer. In recent years, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and mumps have shown that even small pockets of unvaccinated people can drive significant spread of contagious disease among both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. That’s why it’s critical that healthcare professionals and vaccine makers continue to stress the importance of childhood vaccination.

Another troubling statistic in an era of unparalleled vaccine hesitancy: Nearly 46% of surveyed parents said they were concerned about vaccines’ side effects, with another 28.2% expressing no opinion about side effects either way. Together, those figures showed that 74% of parents were either worried or uncertain about the side effects of vaccines – despite an overabundance of evidence that vaccines are safe and rarely cause serious adverse reactions.

Finally, perhaps in reference to the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that were making their way toward widespread adoption at the time, 27.1% of surveyed parents either agreed or strongly agreed that new vaccines carried more risks than older vaccines – and a whopping 47.6% neither agreed nor disagreed with that statement.

Those stats mirror results from a second, ongoing Phreesia survey, which has been taken by more than 335,000 adult patients since March 2021. Among those who answered, slightly more than half of polled patients (51%) said they were concerned about the safety and long-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, and 23.5% did not agree that it was important to receive all recommended vaccines.

The results clearly illustrate that pharma marketers have their work cut out for them, not only to convince patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but also to make sure the vaccine hesitancy the country is currently seeing doesn’t spill over further to impact the rate of childhood vaccinations. While patients may be generally aware of vaccines’ role in staving off disease, it’s up to marketers to ease patients’ fears about vaccine safety and side effects and to highlight the continued importance of vaccination, no matter the disease area.

August 27, 2021 admin0

To encourage women to take an active role and have more open conversations with their gynecologists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new web series, Under the Paper Gown. The six episode series will feature comedian Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey Lamar, showcasing Amber’s growth “as she gains the knowledge and confidence to speak openly with her OBGYN,” as per the news announcement.

Leveraging Ruffin’s relatability and comedic star power, the campaign uses levity to help women overcome the awkwardness many may feel when it comes to gynecological health. The agency behind the work, Ogilvy DC, transforms the paper gown into a “symbol of strength and confidence” for women everywhere.

As stated in the news release, “Libby Dwyer, Group Strategy Director for Ogilvy DC, said: ‘Feeling awkward and uncomfortable, even at the best of OGBYN checkups, keeps women from speaking openly about their health.  We found that if we can lean into laughter as an antidote to awkwardness, and put more women at ease about understanding their health, we can unlock more positivity and conversations about gynecological health.'”

Click here to view the full web series, Under the Paper Gown.

Amber Ruffin (right) with her sister Lacey Lamar as seen in a still from the web series.

August 27, 2021 admin0

To address issues of health disparities and advance health equity, the CDC Foundation and its partners pledged over $30 million in support to more than 150 community-based organizations (CBOs) “to promote COVID-19 vaccinations and reduce the disease’s burden.” As noted in the news release, “CBOs are uniquely positioned to provide culturally appropriate and community-tailored information about mitigation measures, including the importance of vaccination.”

“This funding will support CBOs across the country to engage with local partners, including their state and local health departments, to address vaccine-related concerns, develop innovative and culturally appropriate communications strategies, and promote timely vaccination both for the COVID-19 vaccine and the seasonal influenza vaccine. The work of CBOs receiving support may include developing vaccine resources, hosting community events, engaging in neighborhood-level outreach and managing local communication campaigns, among other activities,” shared the press announcement.

August 27, 2021 admin0

The Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) has partnered with the Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative to create an innovative, new campaign aimed at educating Asian Americans with “information and resources they need to make informed decisions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” stated the news release. Launching this week exclusively on Asian media in the US will develop and produce “culturally relevant, in-language” content.

As part of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative and the “It’s Up to You” campaign, :30 and :60 second spots have been created in multiple languages (English, Korean, Filipino/Tagalog, Hindi, Hmong, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin) to provide information on vaccine eligibility and availability, efficacy, and safety.

As stated in the news release, “Indrajit Majumdar, 3AF President, said, ‘At 3AF, we believe in the power of Asian American media. They are a critical conduit to our Asian American community. [After all], they know best how to reach their viewers, listeners, subscribers, and readers. What better way to produce targeted campaigns to reach the various Asian segments on this incredibly important vaccine initiative than using the expertise and the voice of Asian media? It was a great, strategic collaboration with our friends at the Ad Council, COVID Collaborative and our media members, and we look forward to future efforts.’”

August 27, 2021 admin0

The first vaccine for COVID-19 was approved by the FDA on Aug 23, 2021. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty for those aged 16 and older. For those aged 12-15 years as well as immunocompromised individuals needing a third dose, the vaccine is still available under emergency use authorization (EUA).

Click here to read the full FDA press release.