Weber Shandwick wins potential $50m CDC flu vaccine comms account

The work includes promotion of the influenza vaccine and some crisis work.

CDC Headquarters (Photo credit: Getty Images)
CDC Headquarters (Photo credit: Getty Images)

ATLANTA: Weber Shandwick has won a contract potentially worth nearly $50 million from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases to promote vaccines for influenza and the work of the organization.

The first year of Weber’s contract is set to end on September 21, 2021, but the agreement can be extended for another four years until the end of September 2025. Should that happen, Weber’s budget could ultimately hit $49.9 million, according to a federal procurement database.

The NCIRD, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is looking to Weber to promote the vaccination of children, pregnant women and those at risk for flu and increase the general acceptance and use of vaccines. The Interpublic Group firm will also communicate the risks and recommended actions for outbreaks and convey vaccine recommendations to healthcare providers, according to NCIRD documents.

Weber is also managing general communications for viral, bacterial and respiratory diseases, promoting the NCIRD and developing strategic comms aimed at groups that are at higher risk of contracting certain diseases.

Weber’s duties include providing 10 on-site health communications staffers, seven health comms specialists, two health research specialists and one social media specialist. The agency’s earned media responsibilities include generating story ideas, distributing articles and conducting outreach to news, media and entertainment organizations. It also includes conducting satellite radio and TV tours, providing spokesperson training and reaching out to celebrities or entertainment media.

Weber is also expected to conduct target audience research, provide graphic design support, handle paid digital media placement and develop and implement a comms plan targeting healthcare providers. It will also create and execute a digital and social media strategy and provide web design and support.

The agency may be asked to develop outbreak response and emergency communications as well as Spanish-language and other non-English-language outreach.

Weber began working on the account on September 28 after signing the deal with the NCIRD in mid-September, according to a government contract database.

A CDC representative could not be reached for comment about the contract.

“Weber Shandwick has a long history of supporting the CDC,” a Weber spokesperson said.

The campaign is similar to work Porter Novelli did for the NCIRD under a contract that ran from September 2015 until September 27, 2020, the day before Weber started working on its account. Porter earned approximately $61 million for that work.

Porter declined to comment on Weber’s account, saying the CDC is “an existing and very important client of ours.”

Last month, Weber’s fellow Interpublic Group firm, Golin, won a contract from the CDC to provide media and social media support for the Center for Global Health, the department that manages the CDC’s international efforts.

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