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Campaign: Influenza vaccination promotion

Client: Influenza Specialist Group
WPP company: Burson-Marsteller, Australia

It is estimated that each year around 10% of Australians get the flu and, as a consequence, 18,000 people are admitted to hospital with illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia. People over 65, pregnant women, young children, healthcare workers and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease are most at risk. Flu can be debilitating and even fatal to the sufferer and expensive for the healthcare system.

The Influenza Specialist Group (ISG) has been raising awareness about flu and the benefits of vaccination since 1992. They have helped encourage almost 80% of over 65s to have a flu jab every year. Now they are focusing on healthcare workers and other high-risk groups.

In 2007 Burson-Marsteller Australia provided PR support to help ISG implement its seasonal influenza awareness launch and take its message to a wider audience. The campaign used opinion leaders, such as GPs, pharmacists, nurses and patients as spokespeople to raise awareness in local communities.

A launch event and press release generated significant media interest, resulting in 619 articles. GPs reported that 42% of at-risk under 65s were vaccinated by April 2007, a figure which is not usually reached until the influenza season arrives in July.