Digital Ambassadors Promote Flu Vaccination Awareness for High Risk Groups throughout Season
In the 2013-2014 flu season, CDC launched a Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador initiative to establish a group of online publishers dedicated to raising awareness about flu vaccination throughout the season. During the initiative’s inaugural year, CDC initiated six Digital Ambassadors, five targeting high priority audiences—pregnant women, healthcare providers, seniors over the age of 65, people with chronic conditions, and parents and caregivers of young children¾and a sixth addressing a larger, general audience. In total, the 2013-2014 Digital Ambassador initiative garnered over 3.7 million digital media impressions through 84 blog, website, and social media posts.
As Digital Ambassadors, these six publishers committed to post flu information multiple times during the season on their blogs, websites, and/or social media channels. A branded badge placed on an Ambassador’s blog or alongside a flu-specific post emphasized the new initiative and distinguished Ambassadors from other publishers who posted less frequently during the season.
This season’s Ambassadors and activities included:
Moms Who Vax was founded by two mothers who aim to educate parents about the importance of vaccination. Their blog features insights on the latest vaccine conversation in the media as well as guest posts from other moms about the importance of vaccination. Along with its partner non-profit organization, Voices for Vaccines, Moms Who Vax is highly influential in promoting evidence based vaccination messages to parents and future parents online.
Moms Who Vax posted about flu throughout the season, including a blog titled, “Mandatory Flu Vaccination: In My House It’s the Law,” which posted during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) and was promoted via Twitter.
Melody Butler, a pediatric nurse, saw a need to connect pro-vaccine nurses and provide the latest information about vaccines to them. She founded Nurses Who Vaccinate, which provides up-to-date vaccine news, advice, and resources specifically for nurses and other healthcare providers. In addition, this flu vaccine Ambassador provides a forum for technical information and equips nurses to advocate for vaccines among their peers, patients, and the public.
As a Digital Ambassador, Nurses Who Vaccinate tweeted often and posted Facebook updates about the importance of flu vaccination. In addition to regular posts throughout fall and winter, Nurses Who Vaccinate also participated in the January 2014 CDC flu Twitter chat with Dr. Frieden and promoted its participation in the Digital Ambassador initiative through a blog and Facebook post, and by adding the badge to the @NursesWhoVax Twitter handle background.
A Place for Mom, whose official spokesperson is former Good Morning America news anchor, Joan Lunden, helps seniors and their families find senior care and housing based on their needs and budget. The national organization has a strong digital presence on multiple platforms, including a blog, Twitter, and Facebook page that spotlighted CDC’s flu vaccination information this season.
A Place for Mom posted “4 Myths About the Flu Shot” in December and “The Types of Flu Vaccinations Available to Seniors” in February. The blogs were promoted via Facebook and Twitter, and A Place for Mom shared additional messages about the importance of flu vaccination for seniors via Twitter throughout the season.
Healtheo360 is a collection of communities where patients living with chronic conditions can find support, encouragement, and information. Individuals who are affected by chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, and more, share personal stories across Healtheo360’s network. The organization has ties to key non-profits and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entities as well.
As a Digital Ambassador, Healtheo360 attended publisher briefings, shared blog posts about flu, participated in Dr. Frieden’s January 2014 Twitter Chat, and dedicated an entire web page summarizing CDC’s recommendations about flu. The dedicated web page includes the Ambassador badge, GIFs, videos, and links to a variety of CDC resources.
The Shot of Prevention blog is a forum for individuals, parents, medical professionals, and public health experts to discuss current immunization events. The project is supported by Every Child by Two, a national nonprofit immunization advocacy organization.
After attending CDC’s virtual publisher briefing on protecting pregnant women and babies, Shot of Prevention featured a guest post by, Text4baby, a service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. The post, “Fighting the Flu One Text at a Time,” features information about the initiative’s texting capabilities that reminds and encourages pregnant women and new moms to get vaccinated. Shot of Prevention covers the importance of influenza immunization throughout the flu season and includes articles about flu this season, such as “It’s Easy to Find a Flu Vaccine with HealthMap Vaccine Finder”. Influenza information and blog posts about flu are continually featured and promoted via Every Child by Two’s Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page and @ShotofPrev and @EveryChildBy2 Twitter accounts.
VacciNews provides up-to-date information to the public, media, health professionals and policy makers to help them understand the facts about vaccines and immunization.
VacciNews posted “The Benefits of Vaccination” on its blog and promoted the post via Facebook and Twitter. VacciNews also attended both publisher briefings CDC conducted this season and posted about vaccination and pregnancy and vaccination and chronic conditions. The Ambassador also wrote a post, “Getting a Flu Vaccine is a Safe Way to Prevent Serious Illness,” which was promoted on Twitter, and shared CDC’s flu-related e-Cards on Facebook and Instagram.
CDC will continue to engage these Ambassadors and expand the initiative to involve new Ambassadors in the 2014-2015 season. For more information on CDC’s Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador initiative, or if you’re interested in becoming an Ambassador for the 2014-2015 season, please contact Amelia Burke-Garcia at 301-279-4541.
Success Story Criteria
Submit the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org to have your success story featured here!
- Write a 250 word (maximum) description of your success story including name of organization, any collaborating organizations, when the event took place (either last flu season or this flu season only), and any evaluation taken from the activity.
- Include a minimum of (1-2) pictures of the event. Acceptable file formats include JPG, GIF, and PNG. Preferred size at least 500 by 300 pixels (or larger).
- Include contact information in case CDC follow up is needed. Please let us know if we can share your contact information within your success story in case other organizations would like to partner with you for future events.
- Page last reviewed: July 17, 2014
- Page last updated: July 17, 2014
- Content source:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs