25595 Unique Flu Campaign: Beyond the Public Health Norm

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Columbia Hall
Michele Roberts, MPH, CHES , Health Promotion and Communication Manager, Washington State Department of Health
Tim Church, BA , Director of Communications, Washington State Department of Health

Background: Building from Washington’s H1N1 experiences, we developed creative flu vaccine campaign and education materials that encourage residents to get a yearly flu vaccination.

Setting: Statewide

Population: Adults 18-49, mothers, and minority populations including Hispanics, American Indians, and African Americans.

Project Description: Washington promotes flu vaccination using routine communications, mass media, and social media. The new flu communication and education campaign uses concepts tested through formative research with women from across Washington. Women continue to be our primary target audience because they influence health decisions in the home. Focus groups consisted of English and Spanish speakers. Two concepts tested best.

  1. The first uses a play on words to describe Washington as “WashYourHandsington, where everyone washes their hands, covers their cough, and gets the flu vaccine.”
  2. The second concept, “Not Just the Flu,” takes a more serious tone and warns about the dangers of flu.
Venues include bus ads, billboards, and online banner ads. Radio ads and a YouTube video for the WashYourHandsington concept use a lighter approach to promote healthy behaviors. Other materials include posters, postcards, stickers, and a movie theater ad. We have a Flu News website with health education materials and resources for specific audiences. Through partnerships with medical associations, community foundations, and local health partners, we engage in other public awareness initiatives. We added flu information to Immunization Registry mailings to 336,000 families. Outreach to parent bloggers using flu vaccine messages and campaign materials also expands our flu education.

Results/Lessons Learned: We’ll share how creative channels result in ongoing strategies to promote vaccine. Participants will learn how routine activities and partnerships maximize resources and enhance efforts to increase immunization rates. We’ll highlight our campaign materials and share focus group experiences with an emphasis on how diverse communication channels have proven useful in targeting audiences.