Following FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer is poised for marketing the shots.
Health care experts say ads for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which will be marketed as Comirnaty, will soon start hitting the TV airwaves. Pfizer and BioNTech were previously not allowed to market the vaccine directly to U.S. consumers since it was not fully approved.
“We plan to take a thoughtful approach to marketing and advertising Comirnaty to the public during this time, with the goal of increasing confidence in vaccination as we continue to combat the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” a Pfizer spokeswoman told AdAge in a statement.
The FDA approval, granted early this week, follows the emergency use authorization given to Pfizer last December. The new official approval is for vaccine use in individuals who are 16 and older.
Despite the emergency approval, many Americans have resisted getting the vaccine. Some three in 10 unvaccinated adults have said they are more likely to get the vaccine if it received full FDA approval, according to a June survey from nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. Those three out of 10 individuals will be a key target in Pfizer’s marketing push, Pfizer will have to reinforce the vaccine’s value to those who have already received the shot now that a booster shot is on the horizon.
From a branding perspective, it seems that the word Comirnaty is perhaps derived from immunity and community to convey trust. That should be evident in ads, which will no doubt carry a serious health care tone.
Consumers are Warming to Vaccines
Consumers appear to be warming up to COVID-19 vaccines as more businesses and organizations issue mandates. A recent Ad Age-Harris Poll found that more than half of Americans surveyed say they are more likely to shop in-store at companies that require employee vaccinations.
AP Style Updates: COVID-19
PR News recently reviewed AP Style updates on COVID-19 terminology which are important to incorporate when communicating about the pandemic, citing Poynter research.
“The coronavirus” is now acceptable on first reference, even though it incorrectly implies there is only one coronavirus. “New coronavirus” or “novel coronavirus” no longer needs to be used, since the pandemic is more than a year old.
Example: The coronavirus impacts hospital admissions daily.
Personal protective equipment
“Personal protective equipment” should be used on first reference. PPE is acceptable on second reference.
Example: Personal protective equipment will be available at the nurse’s office. Please send students here if they are lacking PPE.
COVID-19 vs. coronavirus
“Coronavirus” is acceptable when referring to the pandemic, but it is a general virus. COVID-19 is the specific disease stemming from coronavirus. If you use “COVID-19” on first reference, feel free to use COVID on second or to save space in headlines.
Example: The coronavirus pandemic has tested the limits of the health care system, with doctors and nurses treating most COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
Pandemic vs. Global pandemic
Use “pandemic,” as “global pandemic” is redundant. Also avoid “epidemic” when referring to COVID-19, as it means an outbreak in a specific region.
Example: The pandemic wreaked havoc on international supply chains.
Use “vaccines” as a noun, a product that stimulates the body’s immune system. “Vaccination” is the act of giving the vaccine. “Immunization” and vaccination can be used interchangeably.
Example: She stood in line for the vaccine, watching nurses run a vaccination clinic.
“Superspreader” is one word. Use it to describe a person or an event.
Example: Attendees now view the 2020 family reunion as a superspreader event.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
On first reference, use “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” On second reference, “the CDC” is acceptable. It takes a singular verb.
Example: We are watching the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for guidance on mask-wearing. The CDC said it will update its guidance on Tuesday.
“Mask-wearing” and “hand-washing” require a hyphen. “Contact tracing” and “distance learning” do not.
Example: A nurse who appeared at our distance learning session showed the correct hand-washing procedure.
Pickup vs. Pick up
Use “curbside pickup,” not “curbside pick up.” Use “pick up” as a verb.
Example: You can pick up your pizza at the restaurant’s curbside pickup.
Refrain from using “anti-vaxxer” unless in a direct quote, which will require a larger explanation.
Twitter Announces New Process for Reporting COVID-19
Twitter recently announced it is testing a new reporting feature for users to flag tweets containing possible misinformation.
Users are now able to report misinformation through the same process as harassment or other harmful content, through the dropdown menu at the top right of every tweet.
Users will be prompted to select whether the misleading comment is political, health-related, or falls into another category. The politics category includes more specific forms of misinformation like content related to elections. The health category will also include an option for users to flag COVID-19-specific misinformation.
The new feature is for most users in the US, Australia, and South Korea. Twitter expects to run this experiment for a few months before deciding to roll it out to additional markets.
Not every report will be reviewed as the platform continues to test the feature. But the data obtained through the test will help the company determine how it could expand on the feature over the next few weeks.
The test could be used to identify tweets containing misinformation that have the potential to go viral as well.
Last month, the Biden administration took a stronger stance against misinformation as new variants of COVID-19 have continued to spread. President Biden told reporters in July that social media platforms like Facebook were “killing people” with vaccine misinformation.
The statement followed a coordinated campaign from the White House pressuring platforms to remove coronavirus misinformation more aggressively.
The US Surgeon General’s office published a report outlining new ways platforms could counter health misinformation. The report called for “clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate” a platform’s rules and for companies like Facebook and Twitter to redesign their algorithms to “avoid amplifying” false information.
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