Batter up for the next COVID shot.
During the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros, the Department of Health and Human Services has once again partnered with Major League Baseball for a COVID-19 PSA campaign.
The effort features MLB Network host Robert Flores, who stresses the importance of getting the latest COVID-19 booster shot. The ads will air during each game.
“COVID doesn’t play by the rules,” Flores says in the announcement. “Just one strike can take you out of the game, and why would you want to take that risk? Now there’s an updated vaccine that protects against the original strain of the Omicron strain. So don’t strike out with COVID!”
Last year, MLB partnered with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative to roll out a similar vaccine campaign, It’s Up To You. In that campaign, MLB stars made appearances to remind people of the importance of getting vaccinated as they go to sports events and other in-person activities.
This campaign marks the latest effort by the Biden administration to increase uptake of the updated, Omicron-specific bivalent vaccines amid a faltering fall booster rollout. Less than 8% of people eligible for the updated booster have received one thus far, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This lagging public health effort coincides with rising fears of a "tripledemic," as regular flu cases have skyrocketed early in the season and respiratory syncytial virus in children have overwhelmed hospitals nationwide.
Last month, the Biden administration began a series of initiatives aimed at driving up those updated bivalent vaccination numbers, including video ads that target specific communities like Latino, Black and rural communities.
This is not the only example of baseball being used as a vehicle to pass along critical healthcare information.
In September, Boehringer Ingelheim announced that New York Yankees legend Bernie Williams is leading the company’s Tune In To Lung Health campaign to explore how music can support patients living with interstitial lung disease. Prior to that, Williams worked on BI’s national respiratory campaign, known as Breathless.
This story first appeared on mmm-online.com.