overwhelmed, and callers can be given information and instructions specific to their individual insurance carrier.

  • Think outside the box for opportunities to create new partnerships. For example, public health departments in Oregon worked with the Portland Trailblazers to create a public service announcement. “It allowed us to reach different segments of the population that may not necessarily hear us, and hear us in a different way,” said Bill Beamer of Portland’s Multnomah County Health Department.

  • Educate faith leaders and other trusted community leaders regarding the importance of vaccination and safety.

  • Communicate with vulnerable populations, refugees, and minority communities before events and in partnership with the community. The messenger and message need to be culturally appropriate to the community. That message should be targeted to specific populations in understandable language, words, and pictures.

  • Research effective methodologies for reaching different populations with risk communications and vaccine messaging. This would include both a retrospective evaluation of the effectiveness of communications efforts during the 2009 H1N1 response and research to develop and test new messaging strategies.

Media Relations

There were several individual suggestions for enhancing communication with the media for consideration by public health authorities. These included

  • Proactively engage media (e.g., by inviting them to observe decision-making meetings or vaccine clinics) to provide journalists with accurate information and an understanding of the situation, be ready for any developing stories, and build trust. This strategy can be risky, but it can also help journalists be prepared for story. Brown of The Washington Post noted that difficult decisions, contradictions, and differences of opinion and approach cannot be avoided, but those difficulties should not be finessed or explained after the fact.

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