A pharmacist giving an immunization to person.

CVS Health, Walgreens among retailers joining COVID-19 vaccine education platform

The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative are kicking off a campaign with Walmart, Walgreens and CVS Health that features pharmacists addressing common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
Sandra Levy profile picture

The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative unveiled new public service advertisements with CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart to help educate people throughout the nation about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Developed with expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, as part of the groundbreaking "It's Up To You" COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, the new content features pharmacists addressing common questions about COVID-19 vaccination. 

"As people across the country seek answers to their questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, we know local pharmacists are among the most trusted resources for the latest information," said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "This extraordinary coalition of companies — CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart — plays a critical role in getting Americans the information they need about COVID-19 vaccination so they can make the right choice for themselves and their families."

The new informational videos, created pro bono by Group SJR, feature pharmacists from CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart addressing questions about COVID-19 vaccination, including: why should I get vaccinated? Who has to verify that the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19? After receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, can individuals return to normal social activities?

"Our pharmacists are a local and trusted resource in the communities in which we serve," said Michelle Peluso, CVS Health chief customer officer. "We're amplifying their voices to provide accurate information, answer questions and reduce hesitancy as we continue to administer vaccines in a safe, convenient, and inclusive manner."

In addition to supporting the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative's COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, CVS Health will supplement this effort with a significant marketing and outreach campaign focused on reaching vulnerable communities. 

"As familiar faces and trusted health resources in the communities we serve, Walgreens pharmacists are powerful voices in helping everyone overcome vaccine hesitancy," said Patrick McLean, Walgreens chief marketing officer. "Together with Ad Council and other pharmacy partners, we can make a meaningful difference in helping consumers access credible information about COVID-19 vaccines so they can make an informed decision that's right for them."

Walgreens is taking a multi-faceted approach to help consumers overcome vaccine hesitancy by establishing partnerships with the Ad Council, Uber, Chicago Urban League and other advocacy groups; providing educational content through online channels and in-store materials; collaborating with trusted voices like influencers and community leaders; and leaning into its trained pharmacy team members to provide patients with relevant, personalized information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Our qualified pharmacists are partners in our customers' healthcare journeys, providing quality care that supports our mission of helping people save money and live better – and healthier — lives," said Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of Walmart Health & Wellness. "This has never been more true than during COVID-19 where our pharmacists are trusted advisors and counselors, especially when it comes to the vaccines."

Walmart and Sam's Club are proud to be selected by the CDC as part of their U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program as well as several state governments to help administer COVID-19 vaccines in communities around the United States.

As of March 12, Walmart and Sam's Club are administering vaccines in 44 states and jurisdictions in more than 2,700 locations across the United States. Nearly 4,000 Walmart locations are located in rural and underserved communities, and the company is focusing its efforts on reaching those most vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition to pharmacies, Walmart is hosting community vaccination events, partnering with local community organizations and leaders to improve access to the vaccine, as well as educate and inform customers so they feel confident about getting the vaccine as early as they're eligible.

The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative have partnered to ensure public service messages reach deeply into local communities through trusted messengers and institutions. COVID Collaborative's dissemination network reaches millions of Americans through its many associations representing health, education and the economy and the diversity of the United States, supported by the Skoll Foundation, Allstate Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Macy Foundation, Pure Edge, and Walton Family Foundation.

Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the Ad Council has mobilized the industry to launch an unprecedented, multi-pronged communications effort to combat COVID-19. To date, the Ad Council's COVID-19 response efforts have resulted in 44 billion impressions, $456 million in donated media value, and over 33 million visits to Coronavirus.gov.