COVID-19 Vaccination Education Through Trusted Messengers

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Public Health Solutions is a nonprofit whose mission is to improve health outcomes in New York City by providing services directly to the most vulnerable communities.

Public Health Solutions came to Media Cause with a campaign idea, needing help with strategy and execution, to help more people who are or could become pregnant people living in the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE) area neighborhoods of New York get vaccinated for COVID-19.

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The Outcome

Through a number of channels, we strategically drove audiences to explore and use the toolkit as a means for trusted messengers who were not members of the medical community to facilitate about vaccinations for people who were or could become pregnant, as well as learn how they could continue to make an impact in their communities and spheres of influence by delivering these messages to the community.



Clicks to Site

Million Impressions

The Challenge

The Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE) area neighborhoods of New York were identified by NYC as being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and Public Health Solution’s goal was to shift the target audience’s perceptions and behavior by connecting them to education materials shared through trusted authorities with whom they were already connected, helping them come to a decision regarding vaccination for pregnant women.

Because the TRIE neighborhoods in NYC make up a relatively small geographic area, the biggest challenge we faced was accumulating a sizable enough audience while staying within both the targeting location and interest parameters.

Rather than targeting our audience directly, the campaign was planned to provide people identified as ‘trusted messengers’ with the resources to properly educate those who are pregnant or may become pregnant.


The Strategy

During our discovery phase, we uncovered a few key insights that lead to a shift in audience. Due to the history between people of color and the government and medical testing, and the systemic racism that still affects the medical community, many of the people of color in the TRIE area neighborhoods were hesitant to be vaccinated. It also took more than data or statistics to persuade people. It required the word of someone trusted for community members to take action to become vaccinated.

We shifted the primary audience to the most advocacious voices in these communities—the social workers, health providers at small medical practices or free clinics, and community leaders who were considered to be the ‘trusted messengers.’

When we joined the project, Public Health Solutions had a wealth of research prepared on how best to communicate the technical, medical terms in a way that could be understood by the average person. Using this information, we created a landing page and transformed the toolkit to incorporate messages about connecting people to vital information, which resonated best with the new primary audience, and equipping them with scenarios, FAQs, and techniques for talking to our secondary, and end, audience about vaccination.

phs logo

phs logo

Using our research-backed and experience-based understanding of the community, we acknowledged the BIPOC community and their hesitations directly. In both the language and designs for the ads and landing page, we brought the focus in on the community aspect and visually showed the diversity within our audiences to strengthen this acknowledgement. This created a sense of understanding and authenticity to the campaign.

By using a tagline of ‘Protecting Pregnant People, Together’ and imagery that evoked a sense of warmth and care, this positioned Public Health Solutions as a partner to all who were already working within and serving those in the TRIE neighborhoods. We developed bilingual versions of the toolkit and landing page, which lent additional warmth to the brand and created more accessible materials for our audiences.

For the educational content we developed, the goal was to encourage community members to have the conversation about vaccination with their doctor, if they weren’t already speaking with them, and to become vaccinated. This content was designed to give the community leaders and healthcare professionals the tools they needed to talk to the individuals in the TRIE neighborhoods as their trusted advisors, and offer encouragement. 


Because the educational materials were dense with medical terminology, we made the language more easily digestible and helped the target audience talk through each barrier to vaccination with confidence. In turn, this helped our secondary, and end user, audience overcome their fears around cost, health concerns, among others to reduce vaccination hesitancy.

Testing a number of channels, including paid social, in-app direct buy, and programmatic display, allowed us to more effectively target and reach the ‘trusted messengers.’


We primarily used Ovia, Infillion, and LinkedIn for targeting. Using both interest and geo targeting, as well as lookalike targeting using Public Health Solutions email lists, LinkedIn was the most fruitful platform. Through this part of the advertising, we saw the highest click-through-rate. 


Ultimately, we were able to drive strong reach with 10.6 million impressions, and develop a better understanding of which paid media channels and creative assets were most successful in driving landing page views and toolkit downloads for future campaigns.