The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative today unveiled new public service advertisements (PSAs) with CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart to help educate people throughout the nation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Developed with expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as part of the groundbreaking “It’s Up To You” COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, the new content features pharmacists addressing common questions about COVID-19 vaccination. CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart are founding partners of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.
Recent Ad Council research revealed that across demographic groups, Americans find “my pharmacist” to be one of the most trusted messengers on COVID-19 vaccines. The new informational videos, created pro bono by Group SJR, feature pharmacists from CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart addressing questions about COVID-19 vaccination, including: why should I get vaccinated? Who has to verify that the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19? After receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, can individuals return to normal social activities?
“As people across the country seek answers to their questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, we know local pharmacists are among the most trusted resources for the latest information,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “This extraordinary coalition of companies – CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart – plays a critical role in getting Americans the information they need about COVID-19 vaccination so they can make the right choice for themselves and their families.”
“Our surveys show Americans trust their doctors, nurses and pharmacists when seeking information on vaccines,” said John Bridgeland, Co-Founder and CEO of COVID Collaborative. “Having the full power of the nation’s pharmacies behind the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s vaccine education campaign will help engage Americans in their own recovery.”
The content serves a dual-purpose – educating consumers directly, while also serving as a resource to help pharmacists nationwide prepare to answer questions from their own patients. The videos will be distributed via targeted donated media placements to reach pharmacists.
The videos of pharmacists speaking directly to a consumer audience can be found here and here. Content featuring pharmacists addressing their fellow pharmacists, alongside Dr. Anthony Fauci, physicians and nurses, can be found here and here.
“Our pharmacists are a local and trusted resource in the communities in which we serve,” said Michelle Peluso, Chief Customer Officer, CVS Health. “We’re amplifying their voices to provide accurate information, answer questions and reduce hesitancy as we continue to administer vaccines in a safe, convenient, and inclusive manner.”
“As familiar faces and trusted health resources in the communities we serve, Walgreens pharmacists are powerful voices in helping everyone overcome vaccine hesitancy,” said Patrick McLean, Chief Marketing Officer, Walgreens. “Together with Ad Council and other pharmacy partners, we can make a meaningful difference in helping consumers access credible information about COVID-19 vaccines so they can make an informed decision that’s right for them.”
“Our qualified pharmacists are partners in our customers’ healthcare journeys, providing quality care that supports our mission of helping people save money and live better – and healthier – lives,” said Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Walmart Health & Wellness. “This has never been more true than during COVID-19 where our pharmacists are trusted advisors and counselors, especially when it comes to the vaccines.”
CVS Health has built an extensive community-based strategy to address COVID-19 vaccine education and equity. In addition to supporting the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, CVS Health will supplement this effort with a significant CVS Pharmacy marketing and outreach campaign focused on reaching vulnerable communities. The company is working with community-based leaders and nonprofit organizations, including free and charitable clinics and faith-based organizations, to share educational information and establish community-based vaccine clinics, among other on-the-ground efforts to help ensure equitable access to the vaccines.
Walgreens is taking a multi-faceted approach to help consumers overcome vaccine hesitancy by addressing their unique experience and situation. This includes establishing partnerships with the Ad Council, Uber, Chicago Urban League and other advocacy groups; providing educational content through online channels and in-store materials; collaborating with trusted voices like influencers and community leaders; and leaning into Walgreens’ approximately 27,000 trained pharmacy team members to provide patients with relevant, personalized information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Walmart and Sam’s Club are proud to be selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of their U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program as well as several state governments to help administer COVID-19 vaccines in communities around the United States. As of March 12, Walmart and Sam’s Club are administering vaccines in 44 states and jurisdictions in more than 2,700 locations across the United States. Nearly 4,000 Walmart locations are located in rural and underserved communities, and the company is focusing its efforts on reaching those most vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition to pharmacies, Walmart is hosting community vaccination events, partnering with local community organizations and leaders to improve access to the vaccine, as well as educate and inform customers so they feel confident about getting the vaccine as early as they’re eligible.
These new informational videos follow the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s recent launch of the “It’s Up To You” initiative, which includes creative assets developed by Pereira O’Dell, JOY Collective, iHeartMedia, Group SJR, Values Partnerships and other partners to ensure the American public has the latest and most accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccines. The new pharmacist-specific content is an extension of previous informational videos to address healthcare professionals’ questions about COVID-19 vaccination, featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci and other representatives from leading healthcare organizations.
Vetted by experts at CDC, HHS and COVID Collaborative, content at GetVaccineAnswers.org is available in seven languages (English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese) and serves as an information hub to help consumers make an informed decision for themselves and their families about the COVID-19 vaccines. Resources on the website will be continually updated as new information and data become available.
The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative have partnered to ensure public service messages reach deeply into local communities through trusted messengers and institutions. COVID Collaborative’s dissemination network reaches millions of Americans through its many associations representing health, education and the economy and the diversity of the United States, supported by the Skoll Foundation, Allstate Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Macy Foundation, Pure Edge, and Walton Family Foundation.
Leading contributors to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative to date include Amazon, Apple, Bank of America, Cisco, CVS Health, Facebook, General Motors, Google and YouTube, the Humana Foundation, NBCUniversal/Comcast, Salesforce, Verizon, Walgreens and Walmart. Significant contributions have also been provided by Adobe, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, BNY Mellon, Business Roundtable, Citi, Ford Motor Company, Honeywell, JPMorgan Chase, the New York Life Foundation, Stanley Black & Decker, Synchrony, Target, Unilever, Wells Fargo and ViacomCBS.
Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the Ad Council has mobilized the industry to launch an unprecedented, multi-pronged communications effort to combat COVID-19. To date, the Ad Council’s COVID-19 response efforts have resulted in 44 billion impressions, $456 million in donated media value, and over 33 million visits to Coronavirus.gov.