COVID-19 Vaccine Brings Hope and Opportunities for the Future

By The SHSMD Team posted 24 days ago


By Ryan Nagdeman
Associate Vice President, Marketing Communications
Rush University Medical Center

Hope has come in the form of the COVID-19 vaccine, but we are at the beginning of a long journey. Many frontline workers have been vaccinated, and nearly one million people in Illinois, where Rush is located, had scheduled their appointments for their first COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of January.

At the same time, many people are waiting to be vaccinated, and some are not sure if they want to receive the vaccine. Guidelines within the state vary by county, causing frustration and confusion. As health care providers, it is our responsibility to reach everyone with the facts about vaccine delivery and to stay strong while we work together to end this pandemic.83f65bf2-89b5-4742-af6b-83b023954a67

Even with these hurdles, opportunities exist for Rush and other hospitals and health care organizations. We can continue outreach efforts and build off the engagement we established when COVID-19 hit last year. Health care protocols changed, and consumers interacted with us both virtually and in physical settings. Trust in health care content increased, and we saw the doubling and tripling of engagement with our digital media channels. We created communications assets, held webinars and even reached international audiences. We have also seen huge increases in engagement from user-generated content. Some of the highlights include:

e311c265-76ff-4957-9a47-4b5f2fb5bcf5We face the challenge of reaching individuals who are still skeptical of the vaccine as well as those living in areas hardest hit by the pandemic. In January, Rush partnered with area faith leaders, community partners and the Chicago Department of Public Health for a special vaccination event. Over 100 faith and community leaders gathered to demonstrate community support and confidence in the vaccine. They returned to their organizations, neighborhoods and communities to serve as models, get the word out and help others make the best decisions.

Distributing the vaccine widely will take time and patience, and we want to slow the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to focus on the science and following guidelines for masking, hygiene and social distancing. We have worked hard to stay connected in our organization and with patients and the community. In these difficult times, we must remain resilient and remember that we are stronger together.

Learning More

SHSMD members can watch a recording of the Vaccine Distribution and Communication: A SHSMD Member Collaborative Workshop to learn more about vaccine distribution and communications plans. Nonmembers, learn more about SHSMD and join. SHSMD members can also share resources, ideas and questions with peers in the MySHSMD community.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communications Toolkit from SHSMD and the AHA is a guide through the steps involved in planning, designing and executing a vaccine communications plan and campaign.

Research and Message Strategies for Overcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy is an AHA Member Advisory about market research findings from the Ad Council into effective messages for vaccine-hesitant members of the American public.

The AHA’s #MyWhy Campaign asks frontline workers to share videos and stories on social media explaining why they received the COVID-19 vaccine.