Vaccine advocates: A broader coalition

Gary Finnegan

Gary Finnegan

January 7th, 2013

Gary Finnegan

‘A diverse coalition of companies, clubs, celebrities and sports stars are uniting to show their support for immunisation programmes around the world. Can this growing willingness to publically support vaccination help to boost trust in vaccines?’

A-broader-coalitionOne of the strongest examples is the One pack = one vaccine campaign run by Pampers. Working with Unicef, the company which makes Pampers (Proctor & Gamble – P&G) donates one dose of potentially life-saving anti-tetanus vaccine every time a pack of children’s diapers is sold.

Not only does this have a direct impact on the health of a child in the developing world, it also serves as a daily reminder to parents in developed world of the value of vaccines. P&G also offers its employees the chance to take a three-month sabbatical to work with UNICEF on humanitarian projects in some of the world’s poorest countries.

A flying start

Last month British Airways launched the Flying Start partnership with the UK charity, Comic Relief, which will see a one-minute film on vaccine-preventable disease shown on every flight until March 2013.

The campaign encourages passengers to donate to the GAVI Alliance using envelopes provided on board by BA staff. The aim is to raise enough money to buy vaccines to protect 100,000 children across Africa.

The not-for-profit sector also promotes vaccines as a major part of the solution to ending the misery caused by preventable illnesses. The Rotary Club is working to help defeat polio, while the Lions Club is lending its support to the Measles Initiative.

Sport stars & celebrities

Movies stars too are playing their part. Salma Hayek and Amanda Peet have been among the most high-profile supporters of immunisation campaigns, while Jennifer Lopez became the face of a pertussis (whooping cough) awareness campaign in the US. And local female celebrities are backing HPV vaccine campaigns around the world.

For those more impressed by sports stars, Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho’s video for the WHO’s European Immunization Week might prove more persuasive.

And it doesn’t end there. FC Barcelona has partnered with Unicef for several years to support child health and has also teamed up with the Gates Foundation, while Radamel Falcao, who plays for Atlético Madrid, is helping to promote the Business Alliance for Child Immunisation– an initiative spearheaded by a group of Spanish Savings Banks.

New context for crucial message

While health professionals remain the most trusted source of health information, are we even more receptive to positive messages about vaccination when they come from other sources or in sometimes surprising contexts?

Let us know your thoughts…