The 2006-07 Influenza Immunization Season: An Early Look at  Communications and Media Planning
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The 2006-07 Influenza Immunization Season: An Early Look at Communications and Media Planning Glen Nowak, Ph.D. Director, Media Relations Centers for Disease Control and Prevention June 7, 2006 Influenza – a year round “story”

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The 2006-07 Influenza Immunization Season: An Early Look at Communications and Media Planning

Glen Nowak, Ph.D.

Director, Media RelationsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

June 7, 2006


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Influenza – a year round “story” Communications and Media Planning

  • January – February: influenza present and people getting sick, cases may be peaking, vaccination still recommended and offered, flu vaccine orders placed

  • March-April: strain selections, vaccine development begins

  • May-July: recommendations updated, vaccine production underway, updates disseminated

  • August-Sept: vaccine shipments and distribution begin, planning and promotion of immunization underway

  • Oct-November: Vaccination efforts begin in earnest, influenza likely arrives, vaccine distribution continues

  • December: influenza likely more present, vaccination campaigns and efforts still underway, vaccine distribution continues


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“Media coverage in conjunction with explicit physician recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”Ma et al. (2006), “Influenza Vaccinations of Children increased with media coverage in 2003,” Pediatrics.


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Increasing Consumer Demand for Influenza Vaccination: recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”Communication and Media Challenges


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Media attention and interest recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Determined and shaped by:

    • When, where and how influenza arrives

    • Severity of (initial) cases and illness

    • Places and population groups impacted

    • Developments, or lack thereof

    • What else is competing for media attention

    • Media perceptions / interpretations


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Media vs. “Publicity” recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • “Publicity” – i.e., constant, highly visible, positive messages regarding influenza vaccine and vaccination is not the same thing as news

  • News media interest and attention requires “news” – i.e., significant new developments or findings that warrant news time and space

    • Hard to achieve and sustain

    • Press conferences and press releases require news

    • “If you want publicity, buy an ad.”


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Providers and Consumers recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Low coverage among healthcare providers

  • Consumer awareness and beliefs (e.g., re: vaccination recommendations, vaccine safety, vaccine effectiveness, influenza disease)

  • Expanded recommendations mean more people need to be reached, which necessitates more media, which requires more resources


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Mixed messages recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • “It’s (really) important you get an influenza vaccination” vs. “You can wait until (December, January, February, etc.)”

  • “Influenza is a potentially serious disease/illness” vs. “For the vast majority of people, influenza is an unpleasant but manageable illness.”

  • “Everyone benefits from an influenza vaccination” vs. “People in the following groups (really) benefit from an influenza vaccination.”

  • “It’s important you get vaccinated” vs. “It’s important you get your vaccination from (______________)”


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A little perspective. . . recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • $2.5 billion -- estimated amount spent on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising in 2005

  • $40 million per day -- estimated amount spent promoting cigarettes in 2004

  • $300 million – amount Proctor & Gamble spent on television advertising in 2005

  • $900,000 -- CDC’s influenza immunization communication/media budget in 2005


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Plans for 2006-07 recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”


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Communication Objectives recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Continue to increase awareness of influenza vaccination recommendations among members of recommended groups

  • Foster health care provider awareness and adoption of immunization recommendations, best practices, and patient education resources

  • Foster news media attention and coverage of influenza vaccination recommendations and their value

  • Extend the visibility and reach of influenza immunization messages and materials through partnerships and collaborations

  • Support community (i.e., state and local) influenza immunization education and communication efforts


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Continue with multifaceted approach recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Website – including “gallery” of downloadable materials, regular updates on flu and vaccine supplies

  • Provider education – including patient resources, newsletter with updates and information, webcasts, collaborations, articles and ads in professional society journals and newsletters


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Media-related efforts recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Press releases and media conferences tied to: MMWR articles and updates, CDC co-authored journal articles, new findings from CDC sponsored research

  • Events (e.g., vaccination season “kickoff”)

  • Media – including radio and TV public service announcements, b-roll, satellite media tours, matte articles, articles in “long-lead media”


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Partnerships recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Immunization program managers

  • State and local health departments

  • Professional societies and organizations

  • National Influenza Vaccine Summit

  • State and local public health information officers / public affairs officers


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Helpful Resources recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • CDC influenza homepage

    • www.cdc.gov/flu/

  • Press releases, media advisories, transcripts

    • www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/

  • Patient and provider education materials

    • www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/patiented.htm

  • CDC influenza-related websites

    • www.cdc.gov/flu/

    • www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivity.htm

    • www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/


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“New” Directions recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”

  • Expanded efforts to foster healthcare provider vaccination

  • Increased workplace vaccination

    • New partnerships (e.g., business community)

    • New resources (e.g., to facilitate employers’ ability to undertake programs)

  • Colleges/universities

    • New partnerships

    • New resources


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Thank You! recommendation for children and their contacts are key factors that are associated with influenza vaccination rates in children.”


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