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“Lets get ahead of the game” – the paper pushing for an effective Covid-19 vaccine strategy

University of Brighton professor and social marketing expert Jeff French has contributed to a paper which is advising governments on how to encourage vaccine uptake, should one emerge.

The paper, titled ‘Key Guidelines in Developing a Pre-Emptive COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake Promotion Strategy’, highlights 10 key points which governments should consider when deciding how to roll out a potential Covid-19 vaccine, and how to make sure as many people as possible are vaccinated once a safe and effective version is approved.

More than 170 teams worldwide are currently working on a vaccine, with many in phase 3, large scale trials. Many experts believe an effective vaccine, should it come, should not be expected until late 2020 or more likely, early-middle of 2021.

Speaking to the University of Brighton podcast, Professor French, who teaches in the Brighton Business School, works with the UN and is CEO of Strategic Social Marketing Ltd, said: “Let’s project forward a few months. January, February next year we have a vaccine that works, that’s safe and we’ve managed to produce millions of doses, now the job is to get it out there. So there’s a logistical job, but very importantly there’s also a promotional job, because a lot of people will be saying no way am I going to have that, I don’t trust it.

“If we do these 10 things, chances are the uptake of the vaccine will increase and vaccine hesitancy will be lowered. So that was the basic thought, let’s get ahead of the game, let’s start planning now, let’s condense down and make it more accessible for governments and professional organisations.

“Let’s take what’s known and start to use those 10 building blocks to develop a programme that will hopefully ensure we get a vast majority of the population vaccinated and we get back to normal – or a new normal”.

Among the 10 points are thoughts on engaging traditional, digital and social media, driving community engagement and building alliances within government and across departments, highlighted as a crucial aspect of asset identification and mobilisation.

Professor French says the paper has received positive feedback from governments worldwide: “We’ve had hundreds of responses. I guess the global challenge is not countries like the UK, America, Australia, France, Germany and so on. Within a year, most of the people in those countries may be vaccinated. I’m pretty confident of that.

“But getting global elimination of Covid 19, that’s a 20 or 30 year project and it’s going to potentially exacerbate inequalities that already exist. I really hope that the UK, as it’s been saying, will be a global leader in promoting not just vaccine uptake in the UK, but vaccine uptake on a global basis, particularly in countries that don’t have the kind of infrastructure we do”.

Listen to the full podcast: Professor Jeff French on vaccine strategy.

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COVID-19social marketing

Clare Prust • September 8, 2020

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