RI Department of Health COVID-19 response
How do you allay concerns about a new vaccine?
As COVID-19 vaccines became available, our pandemic-related work shifted to focus on vaccine awareness and education. Because vaccinating a critical mass of the population is vital to reducing transmission of the virus, it was important to share accurate and reliable information to get people on board. By addressing vaccine safety, we worked to correct misperceptions, combat false information, and encourage more people in key audiences to get vaccinated.
We developed a question-and-answer video approach that established a platform of open and honest communication. Respected community members asked pointed questions about vaccine-related issues that were on everyone’s mind; the questions were answered by prominent clinicians in a caring, trustworthy, and straightforward manner. To be sure we addressed the issues of greatest concern, we leveraged extensive research across key audiences, including the Latinx and Black communities. We also identified the ideal mix of channels to reach our key populations. Audience-specific creative, bilingual transcreations of the messaging, and a laser-targeted media buy ensured hard-to-reach populations received these important messages.
Just three weeks from its launch, the campaign had delivered over 8.5 million impressions (with 4 million going to high-density ZIP codes and the Latinx and Black communities) and engagement on social platforms was an impressive 47%. Fueled by highly respected clinicians as messengers, feedback from spot polling indicates that attitudes on vaccine uptake are increasingly positive.
“Video calls” between community members and prominent clinicians helped increase vaccine acceptance by dispelling rumors and reinforcing the fact that the vaccines are safe.
Familiarity, trust, and respect are great attributes to have on your side. With these clinicians bringing all that and more, they helped us build strong provaccine messages that encouraged more people to get vaccinated.