Media,News,What's Trending, - November 30, 2020

iHeartMedia: How Health Officials Should Advertise the COVID-19 Vaccine

How Health Officials Will Advertise The COVID-19 Vaccine
Health Officials Will Use Marketing to Gain Covid-19 Vaccine Adoption

According to a Gallup poll this month, 42% of U.S. adults said they would not agree to get an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine. As that impacts any aspirations towards gaining “herd immunity,” the World Health Organization says that at least 60-80% of a population needs to gain immunity first. So at 42% acceptance, that leaves a gap of 20-40%. 

These are the primary objections to the adoption of a covid-19 vaccine.

  • 37% of Americans said they would not get vaccinated because they don’t trust the rushed timeline of vaccine development
  • 26% of Americans simply want to wait and see how others respond to the first doses of the vaccine
  • 12% of Americans generally do not trust vaccines and will not take them even when offered

This is all despite the fact that 9 pharmaceutical companies, including 5 that the CDC has been considering for the US market, were introduced to Stage 3 clinical trials in November with each showing extremely positive results.

Despite this early success, the fact is that marketing a vaccine is a tricky thing. Unlike a therapeutic treatment that offers fairly quick, positive results to an ill person, a preventative vaccine has to be sold to someone that is otherwise healthy. 

So as we move past 2020 and enter 2021, what are some things that big health companies and the next Presidential administration should consider when advertising new preventative measures to the public? 

Health Marketing For Public Acceptance

ln order to gain broad public acceptance, health marketers have to ensure consumer awareness of the risks of COVID-19 and be very clear about the beneficial outcomes of vaccination. In essence, health organizations and stakeholders have to sell the perceived likelihood of infection and the overwhelming value of prevention. This concept applies to any vaccine.

To perceive the benefits of prevention, individuals have to engage in a counterfactual sort of thinking. That is to say: “had I not received a vaccination, then I would have surely caught the ‘rona.”

All of that must be compounded with a perceived seriousness or severity of actually contracting coronavirus. To achieve this in a personal, relatable way health marketers will work with specific types of messaging and themes that speak to risk factors, such as high blood pressure or other specific health ailments, that when paired with COVID-19 may be especially dangerous. 

The message that has to be conveyed requires a combination of convincing the public that “if unvaccinated, then contraction is imminent” and that the illness may be extremely hard to survive or awful to fight. Themes of messaging that support this are often shared through a mixture of radio and television news coverage, traditional television commercials, through the spoken word of health experts, on billboards, and on social media.

Behind the scenes, it is typically governments and supranational organizations that play a key role in architecting these campaigns. These groups aim to work in the best interest of public health to disseminate scientific research, case studies, and educational information that may be used to influence the public’s decision-making. 

Overcoming Risks and Objections

Before health officials can advertise the value of any vaccine, they have to know what objections may persist among their future customers/patients.

We know that today, the biggest objection to the proposed coronavirus vaccines is related to their speed of development. People think that because these vaccines were developed so rapidly, there must be something wrong with them.

The first thing that health officials should be doing is speaking to the history of the science behind the cure. The coronavirus class of viruses has been a topic of scientific research since the 1960s and generally speaking, scientists note that this class of diseases has been more of a nuisance than one of great demise. 

The Scientist - Covid Research Infographic

Infographic Credit: Staff

As the research is published, the drug manufacturers will share 3rd party research with their buyers at the big health systems and work to educate health professionals on the findings. Education and awareness of side effects, long-term effects, and dosing instructions should be made publicly available.  As projections turn into real data, health marketers need to share advertisements that create awareness that sets a proper expectation of benefits versus risks.

Focus on Mitigating Risk and Highlighting Value

At Agency Partner, we have learned that focusing on the customer is the best way to go about sharing a value proposition. Whether you are leading a major corporation or a small business, your future customer is always looking to mitigate their own perceptions of risk before making a purchase decision. Healthcare marketing is a sensitive, often regulatory industry that requires transparency, research, and case studies. 



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Author: S. Adam Rizzieri
Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer // Agency Partner Interactive