Infectious Disease

The latest AAP vaccine campaign asks, “Are we there yet?”

August 31, 2021

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The AAP launched a new marketing campaign, supported by the CDC, encouraging parents to vaccinate children ages 12 and older against COVID-19.

The campaign began last week and will continue through September, “with a particular focus on areas of the country with high vaccination reluctance,” the AAP said.

Screenshot from a new public service announcement by AAP encouraging parents to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. Source: AAP.

The FDA has approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for adolescents aged 16 years and older, and the vaccine is also available under an emergency license for children ages 12-15. Vaccines for children 5 years and older could be approved in the coming months, and clinical trials in children 6 months and older are ongoing.

The campaign, sponsored by a CDC grant and created by Chicago-based marketing firm M. Harris & Co., kicked off August 20 with the posting of a 30-second PSA on YouTube. On site, children and young people sit in the back of cars and ask impatiently: “Are we there yet?” The PPE ends with a parent driving to a vaccination center and assuring their child: “We are here”. The PPE can be viewed in English and Spanish.

The AAP said the campaign will also include radio PSAs in English and Spanish, social media activities, animated scientific explanations, and videos from pediatricians from across the United States giving testimonials and answering frequently asked questions.

The AAP has also partnered with the Kaiser Family Foundation on a series of videos where pediatricians answer questions from comedians W. Kamau Bell about the safety, effectiveness and possible side effects of vaccines and the importance of vaccination.

The efforts could be lifesaving for children, said AAP president Lee Savio Beers, MD.

“It is so important for parents to have their children vaccinated from the age of 12 to prevent them from getting COVID-19,” Beers said in a press release. “COVID-19 can cause serious illness and even death in children. Vaccinations and masking in schools are critical to protecting our children from this pandemic, especially with the advent of the Delta variant. “

The aim, according to the AAP, is to reach parents who have not yet vaccinated their eligible children and to encourage them to speak to a pediatrician about their questions and concerns.

The AAP found that the Delta variant spread rapidly among unvaccinated people, including children. After a decline in early summer, pediatric cases have grown exponentially, with a more than five-fold increase over the last month, from about 38,000 cases in the week ending July 22nd to nearly 204,000 in the week ending August 26th. COVID-19 has sent more than 19,000 children to hospital.

Despite the full approval of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine last week, the AAP has discouraged vendors from giving the vaccine off-label to children under the age of 12.

References:

AAP. American Academy of Pediatrics Launches COVID Vaccine Confidence Campaign. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2021/american-academy-of-pediatrics-launches-covid-vaccine-confidence-campaign/. Accessed on August 31, 2021.

AAP. Children and COVID-19: Country Level Data Report. https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report/. Accessed on August 31, 2021.

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