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Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador Initiative Flourishes in Second Year

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Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador 2014-2015 Now in its second year, the Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador initiative has more than doubled in size, from six Ambassadors in 2013-2014 to 13 for the 2014-2015 season. This year, Digital Ambassadors generated more than 124 million earned digital media impressions through 755 blog, website, and social media posts—an increase of more than 120 million impressions and 670 posts since the initiative’s first year.

Beyond day-to-day promotion of influenza vaccination messaging through their digital and social media channels, many Digital Ambassadors participated in two new initiatives this season: a blog relay and a series of Facebook forums. For the blog relay, seven Digital Ambassadors published a blog post to kick off National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) on a designated day before “passing the torch” to the next Digital Ambassador, culminating in a weeklong promotional activity that generated more than 21 million impressions. The Facebook forum activities involved three Ambassadors who hosted multi-day forums on their Facebook pages to create dialogue around flu vaccination among their followers. The three forums generated 270 questions and comments, 1,540 likes, and 528 shares. Each Ambassador also participated in CDC’s #VaxWithMe social media initiative.

This season’s Digital Ambassadors1 and activities included:

Pregnant Women

Shot of Prevention*

Pregnant? The flu vaccine is the best way to protect you and your baby from flu.

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.

Shot of Prevention helped spark flu vaccination dialogue with a very engaged audience through a forum on its Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page in November. The organization also shared a post during the NIVW blog relay: “Only Parents Can Prevent Today’s Children from Becoming Tomorrow’s Flu Statistic,” promoted the #VaxWithMe campaign, and shared CDC’s flu vaccination messages on social media throughout the season.

Health Care Professionals

Long-Term Living and Senior Editor, Lois Bowers

Long-term Living. CDC releases new flu toolkit.

Long-Term Living magazine has a readership of more than 45,000 long-term care professionals, made up of owners, executives, administrators, and directors of nursing at assisted living communities, nursing homes, post-acute facilities, continuing care retirement communities and independent living environments.

Long-Term Living and senior editor, Lois Bowers, were heavily engaged in sharing CDC’s flu vaccination information throughout the season. Long-Term Living published frequent blog posts, co-hosted a partner-led Twitter chat on flu vaccination and caregivers during NIVW, promoted the Long-Term Care Toolkit newly released this season, and posted flu vaccination messages on social media via both Long-Term Living and Lois Bowers’ personal platforms.

Nurses Who Vaccinate*

Nurses Who Vaccinate

Pediatric nurse, Melody Butler, founded Nurses Who Vaccinate, which provides up-to-date vaccine news, advice, and resources specifically for nurses and other healthcare professionals. In addition, this Digital Ambassador provides a forum for technical information and equips nurses to advocate for vaccines among their peers, patients, and the public.

In addition to sharing campaign messages frequently throughout the 2014-2015 flu season, Nurses Who Vaccinate participated in a number of digital activities, including the NIVW blog relay, where Nurses Who Vaccinate shared the post, “Nurses Need to Lead the Way When it Comes to Flu Shots”; and participated in the #VaxWithMe campaign. Ms. Butler posted her own #VaxWithMe photo on Twitter and Instagram, incorporating the campaign into her Facebook header image, and promoted the NFL Retired Players Association photo on Twitter.

Public Health Foundation

Public Health Foundation. Babies under 6 months can't get a flu vax but can be protected if mom gets one while pregnant.

Public Health Foundation (PHF) improves the public’s health by strengthening the quality and performance of public health practice. PHF’s areas of focus include performance management, quality improvement, and workforce development.

PHF promoted the importance of flu vaccination on Facebook and Twitter often throughout the season and posted CDC guest blog content on its website. PHF further contributed to the flu vaccination dialogue by participating in Twitter chats, including the #abcDrBchat and CDC’s NIVW chat. PHF also houses flu print materials in its online bookstore to broaden the availability of resources that can help health care professionals encourage patients to get their annual flu vaccination.

Seniors

A Place for Mom*

Caregiver tips and inspirational quotes.

A Place for Mom 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 that spotlighted CDC’s flu vaccination information this season.

A Place for Mom was highly active throughout the season, hosting a Facebook forum in October and kicking off the NIVW blog relay with a post titled, “National Influenza Vaccination Week: The Importance for Seniors.” They also promoted the #VaxWithMe campaign on Twitter during Super Bowl.

Chronic Conditions

Healtheo360*

Healtheo 360, the importance of flu vaccination for people with chronic illnesses, NIVW.

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.

Healtheo360 contributed the post “The Importance of Flu Vaccination for People with Chronic Illnesses” as part of the NIVW blog relay and heavily promoted CDC’s #VaxWithMe initiative on Twitter and Facebook this season.

Kathi MacNaughton of HealthCentral

Health Central, asthma, NIVW, did you get your flu shot yet?

Kathi MacNaughton is a registered nurse and consumer health writer with more than 30 years of experience in caring for people with chronic health conditions. She writes for HealthCentral, an online community that provides information on life-changing conditions across more than 35 health categories.

Ms. MacNaughton participated in the NIVW blog relay with the post, “National Influenza Vaccination Week – Did You Get Your Flu Shot Yet?”, posted other detailed articles throughout the season, and promoted a fellow a Digital Ambassador’s Facebook forum. Ms. MacNaughton, who focuses on asthma and allergies, further fulfills her role as a Digital Ambassador through her independent Twitter presence.

LIVESTRONG

Join Livestrong's Facebook forum on flu prevention and treatment.

LIVESTRONG empowers the cancer community to address the unmet needs of cancer survivors by encouraging collaboration, knowledge-sharing and partnership. The organization reaches cancer survivors and their support networks of family and caregivers through a massive social media following, a highly active web community, as well as through in-person events and partnerships, like the Digital Ambassador initiative.

WomenHeart

WomenHeart, the National Coalition for women with heart disease.

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease works to improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease through community and advocacy. The organization reaches women nationwide.

WomenHeart shared CDC flu information with its Twitter network and on Facebook, promoted the #VaxWithMe campaign, supported fellow Digital Ambassadors in their flu vaccination promotions, and participated in CDC Twitter chats.

Parents

Moms Who Vax/Voices for Vaccines*

Voices for Vaccines. What we didn't miss, thanks to the flu vaccine.

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 conversations 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/Voices for Vaccines took part in the NIVW blog relay with a post entitled “What We Didn’t Miss, Thanks to the Flu Vaccine,” participated in CDC Twitter chats, and posted flu vaccination messages on their social media platforms throughout the season.

General

Kristina Duda of About.com Cold and Flu

About Health, when should you get a flu vaccine?

New to the Digital Ambassador program this season but a long-time supporter of CDC’s national flu vaccination campaign is Kristina Duda of About.com Cold and Flu. Ms. Duda’s Cold and Flu posts are part of the About family of sites, one of the largest online premium publishers of expert-created content and one of the most visited sites in the United States. About.com’s experts help millions of users answer questions, solve problems, learn something new, and find inspiration. Ms. Duda, a registered nurse, is an authority on the topic of influenza.

Ms. Duda posts about cold and flu season year-round using a variety of sources. Her Digital Ambassador activities included participating in the NIVW blog relay with a post entitled “When Should You Get a Flu Vaccine?”, cross-promoting fellow Digital Ambassador’s Facebook forums, and sharing CDC’s flu vaccination information on Twitter and Facebook.

Men's Health Network

Men's Health Network, what percent of the public is expected to get the flu this year?

Men’s Health Network (MHN), a national non-profit organization, works to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness and disease prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation.

MHN helped to spread the word about the importance of flu vaccination to their Twitter and Facebook followers and co-hosted a partner-led Twitter chat during NIVW. They also incorporated flu messaging into Twitter chats unrelated to the campaign, helped to support their fellow Digital Ambassadors, including promoting LIVESTRONG’s Facebook forum, and posted guest blog content from CDC, including, “Protect Yourself & Those You Care About: Take Time to Get a Flu Vaccine.”

VacciNews*

VacciNewsNet, 90% of kids who died last flu season didn't get the vaccine, CDC.

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. A continuing Ambassador, VacciNews was very active on social media during the early part of the flu vaccination promotional season.

VacciNews promoted CDC flu vaccination information to their followers on Twitter and Facebook as well as through blog posts such as “90% of Kids Who Died Last Flu Season Didn’t Get the Vaccine.”

1All Digital Ambassadors commit to posting about flu vaccination at least four times throughout the season—though they typically far exceed that mark—and add the Ambassador badge to their websites and/or social media profiles. Note that Digital Ambassadors are listed by audience as categorized by CDC’s flu vaccination campaign; however, these individuals and organizations often reach multiple audiences.

* Denotes Digital Ambassadors that have returned as Ambassadors for a second season.

If you would like more information about the Flu Vaccination Digital Ambassador initiative, please contact Julie Yegen at julieyegen@westat.com.

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