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Persuading the Reluctant Public: US government looks to PSAs to push H1N1 vaccination December 8, 2009

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U.S. health officials have declared that there are no serious side effects to the swine flu vaccine after recording only 3,200 complaints from the 22 million people who have been vaccinated. Nevertheless, a recent Fox News poll suggested that more than a third of Americans are afraid of getting their H1N1 vaccines, and that around 40 percent think it was produced too quickly to know whether it is actually safe.

In hopes of convincing the reluctant members of the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible, the federal government has launched a new nationwide public-service advertising campaign called “Together We Can All Fight the Flu.” The campaign currently consists of seven 30-second commercials, three radio spots, online banner ads and outdoor ads. The recent ads feature average people talking about their reasons for getting the vaccine, which differs from early strategies of using high-profile figures to push the public to act.

See the following video for a representative example of the video ads in the new campaign:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why are Americans not getting the H1N1 vaccine? What kinds of messages would work to effectively address their concerns?

2.  Why do you think the “Together We Can All Fight the Flu” campaign has decided to use everyday people rather than celebrities to push their message?

3.  What persuasive strategies are used in the video above? Are they effective? Why, or why not?

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