case study

Keeping Flu-Focused
During COVID-19

Communicating the importance of annual vaccination to prevent influenza (flu)

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Each year in the US, millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and tens of thousands die from flu and related complications. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) seeks to raise awareness of the importance of flu and pneumococcal disease vaccination through the Annual Influenza/Pneumococcal News Conference held in partnership with CDC. Due to COVID-19, in 2020 the news conference was held virtually for the first time in more than 20 years.

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Less than half of the US population gets vaccinated against influenza each year, including those at highest risk for complications. To drive greater awareness of the importance of annual flu vaccination, especially in the context of COVID-19, we needed to develop a targeted media strategy using compelling data and trusted spokespeople.

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In 2019 and 2020, we conducted a nationally representative survey among US adults to understand behaviors and attitudes toward flu vaccination, including new questions around COVID-19 in 2020 to provide a relevant news hook and help develop persuasive messaging. We conducted comprehensive media outreach leading up to the news conference, and during the event, a panel of experts shared compelling survey data and statistics from the previous flu season.

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Elevated the importance of flu and pneumococcal disease prevention through vaccination with an agenda-setting news conference featuring panelists including Dr. William Schaffner, NFID Medical Director, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.



  • 42 ORIGINAL STORIES including top-tier outlets such as the Associated Press, ABC News, CNBC News, Forbes and The Washington Post – an increase from 37 in 2019
  • More than 600 media placements, garnering OVER 2.7 BILLION MEDIA IMPRESSIONS – increase from 1 billion in 2019
  • 100% OF COVERAGE INCLUDED AT LEAST ONE KEY MESSAGE with half of all coverage including a quote from an NFID spokesperson
  • 98% of the coverage was attributed to NFID, helping to elevate the position of NFID as a leader in infectious disease prevention