NACDS flu shot campaign focuses on underserved communities

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores continued its flu vaccination awareness campaign, collaborating with Howard University College of Pharmacy and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to reach communities who are subject to disparities in healthcare.

NACDS launched the campaign on Aug. 27 to raise awareness among all Americans about the importance of receiving flu vaccinations, especially as the country faces the twin threat of flu and COVID-19.

With the help of collaborators, NACDS is working to increase awareness about the flu vaccination’s importance among priority groups, such as Black and Hispanic Americans. As a part of the ongoing flu vaccination awareness campaign, NACDS has released 60-second and 30-second English and Spanish video ads designed to spread that critical public health message.

A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS reflects the effectiveness of the campaign. While experts have raised concerns that some communities’ stated mistrust of the healthcare delivery system may suppress flu vaccination numbers, NACDS’ ad posts numbers that are consistent among diverse audiences. For example, when the 60-second version of the ad was tested among American adults, 82% of all adults and 80% of Black and Hispanic Americans agreed the ad said something important.

“We thank Howard University College of Pharmacy and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for their strong leadership in helping to amplify critical messages about receiving flu vaccinations, and in encouraging this important action among communities who face disparities in healthcare,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.

Anderson continued, “As NACDS continues its efforts, it is especially important that those Americans who face a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 and other disease are aware of the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccination, and that they have easy access to the quality care they need. Pharmacists are among those trusted healthcare professionals helping Americans receive flu and other routine vaccinations. We are calling on all Americans to get their flu vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones, and we are appreciative of our collaborators for their help in spreading this message.”

“We encourage everyone, especially the Latino community, to get your flu shot as soon as possible,” said Ramiro Cavazos, president & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more critical that you protect yourself during this high-risk season. Check with your insurance company, pharmacist or other healthcare provider, as the flu vaccine may be available at no cost to you.”

Howard University College of Pharmacy, under the leadership of Tamara McCants, director of Residency Programs & Practice Transformation, is partnering with the District of Columbia Immunization Program to close immunization disparities in the most vulnerable populations including the homeless.

"Individuals who do not have allergies or contraindications to the vaccine should plan to receive the flu vaccine every year. Our students are trained in vaccination administrations and are eager to assist with this very important public health initiative," said Toyin Tofade, dean and professor at the Howard University College of Pharmacy.

In addition to video ads, NACDS has published an online toolkit which includes polling data, social media resources and more. NACDS also conducted a national satellite media tour on Aug. 27, urging flu vaccinations on 22 TV and radio stations around the country.