Consolidated wins Department of Health swine flu brief

The Department of Health (DH) has selected Consolidated PR to roll out its public campaign to support the swine flu vaccination programme.

Swine flu: messaging programme

The agency was awarded the account following a competitive pitch. It has been brought on board specifically to promote the vaccine in the consumer media.

The vaccine, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, was licensed by the European authorities last  month. The appointment of Consolidated coincides with the national roll-out of the vaccination
programme, which started last week for the 9.5 million people identified as being in the clinical risk groups.

PRWeek reported earlier this month that the DH was looking to combat mounting public  concerns that the H1N1 vaccine was not safe for use (PRWeek, 9 October).

A DH spokeswoman said this week: ‘Consolidated PR has been appointed to deliver a consumer-facing campaign that will target the groups at risk of swine flu. The key objectives of the work are to contribute to the overall awareness of the availability of the vaccine and to encourage uptake among priority groups and the broader population.’

Consolidated will have to contend with persistent media stories that the vaccine is unsafe because it was fast-tracked following the epidemic earlier this year.

The media relations brief will aim to raise awareness of the vaccine’s availability and to encourage uptake by increasing confidence in the vaccine among priority groups and the general public.

Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson was forced to issue an assurance that the vaccine was safe last week as the mass vaccination programme began. GSK is handling its comms for the vaccine in-house.

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