AMA, Ad Council, CDC launch flu vaccine campaign

🕐 3 min read

The Ad Council, the American Medical Association (AMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation are banding together for a new campaign, No One Has Time for Flu, to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against flu.

In any given season, as many as 45 million Americans get sick with influenza and as many as 810,000 are hospitalized. The campaign’s goal is to inspire more people to get a flu vaccine to protect themselves, their families and their communities—which will also help conserve medical resources as hospitals and doctors continue to care for COVID-19 patients.

Fort Worth physician Susan R. Bailey, MD, is the current AMA president. In a news release, she says:

“The flu vaccine is a safe, effective step that physicians and public health experts recommend to protect patients and their loved ones from getting sick with influenza. The potential impact of a bad flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic could place added burden on medical resources, which is why we are teaming up to urge all people to get a flu vaccine this fall and thereby help prevent seasonal influenza infections.”

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The No One Has Time for Flu will run nationwide throughout the 2020-2021 flu season, with a particular emphasis on engaging with Black and Latinx/Hispanic communities. Longstanding inequities that put undue burden and barriers on these communities have resulted in flu vaccine coverage disparities and disproportionate impacts of flu.

According to CDC data, in the 2019-20 flu season, Latinx/Hispanic adults had the lowest flu vaccination coverage (38.3%), with  non-Hispanic Black adults next lowest (41.2%).  Non-Hispanic white adults had the highest flu vaccination coverage (52.8%).

A new CDC analysis of 10 flu seasons from 2009-2019, when adjusted for age, showed that Black persons had the highest flu hospitalization rates (68 per 100,000) compared to Latinx/Hispanic persons (44 per 100,000) and white persons (38 per 100,000).

Additionally, a July 2020 survey by the Ad Council revealed that 40% of Black respondents and 39% of Latinx/Hispanic respondents were undecided about getting a flu vaccine this season, compared to only 24% of non-Hispanic white respondents.

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The No One Has Time for Flu ads were created pro bono by advertising agency fluent360 and will appear in print, TV, radio, social media, out-of-home and digital formats nationwide in time and space donated by the media. Inspired by the insight that people are motivated by caring for their loved ones, and that many are juggling more responsibilities than ever this year, the campaign illustrates how getting sick with flu doesn’t just mean feeling ill—it could significantly disrupt the lives of individuals and their families.

fluent360 Executive Creative Director Jose Suaste said:

“I’m extremely pleased that we not only created something that benefits the multicultural community, but that we were also able to approach this subject with a fresh perspective and hone in on what people truly value: time and their loved ones.”

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older (with rare exceptions) get a flu vaccine each year—ideally before the end of October, when flu isn’t yet spreading in most parts of the country. Each year, the CDC and AMA undertake a range of efforts to increase the number of people who receive a flu vaccine, and this season that includes working with doctor’s offices and pharmacies to take steps to ensure vaccines can be provided safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The campaign ads direct audiences to for more information, including where to get a flu vaccine in their area.

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