Communications Strategies to Counteract the “Tsunami” of Misinformation About COVID-19 Vaccines

February 15, 2021

// By Susan Dubuque //

In this two-part series, Jeanine Guidry, PhD, assistant professor at the Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Victor Reiss, vice president of consumerism and insights marketing and communications for UNC Health care, offer practical insights for implementing a successful communication strategy to help bolster vaccine uptake and protect the health and lives of our communities.

On May 8, 1980, the World Health Assembly issued an official declaration: “The world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.” Global eradication of this disease through vaccination is considered international public health’s biggest achievement.

Fast forward to 2021. We’re once again in the clutches of a worldwide pandemic with more than 450,000 deaths to date in the U.S. alone. Effective and safe vaccines are now available, yet an estimated 27 percent of the public remains vaccine hesitant — that is, individuals who say they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it were available for free and deemed safe by scientists.

As health care marketing and communications professionals, we are challenged to help our associates, patients, and community citizens understand and accept the importance of vaccination to wrangle COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.

Before launching into a discussion of how to implement a vaccination campaign, let’s first explore why vaccinations are vital to ending this pandemic.

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