What We Took from DTC’s Talking with Bob Ehrlich

On December 14, 2020, Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in Long Island, NY, became the first person in America to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Fast forward to today, and approximately eight percent of the population is inoculated— not quite the number we had hoped to see. A cloud of confusion continues to hover overhead regarding where people can get vaccinated, what population is eligible for vaccination, and when it will be available to the general public. 

A recent installment in the new virtual series from DTC Perspectives, Talking DTC with Bob Ehrlich, discussed the hot topic— Marketing COVID Vaccines. Industry experts from Phreesia, Outcome Health, Pfizer, a licensed pharmacist, and our EVP of Sales, Mike Byrnes, gathered to discuss the challenges the healthcare industry faces in effectively marketing the vaccine to the diverse American population. 

Here are the collective thoughts that the InStep Health team shared following DTC Perspectives panel…

Amy Cornell shared, “Pharmacists are a great conduit for carrying out tailored messaging that is truly personal to the individual they are speaking to, and this is crucial for educating the public on vaccine safety.”

Curt Meyer told us, “There is a trust issue with the COVID vaccine, but pharmacies and pharmacists are ready to take on these challenges.”

Mark Goethals said, “To build more confidence in the vaccine and get more people vaccinated, more data needs to be given to HCPs so that they can share the specifics with patients on how COVID is affecting their community.”

Cate Carley said, “Gary Lott, of Pfizer, pointed out that for decades there has been an erosion in the public’s confidence in vaccines across the board. With COVID, the problem is compounded by the need for a convenient and safe way for the public to get the vaccine.”

Kathleen noted, “The pharmacist on the panel, Nicolette Mathey, raised several good points emerging from her everyday experiences in interacting with patients.  One was that marketers should be providing a mix of print and digital literature so that HCPs have options for marketing based on individual wants and needs.

Rob Blazek shared, “What I learned from the webinar is that there is strength in numbers. If the makers of COVID vaccines pooled their vast marketing resources— they could do a much greater job of reaching individual patient populations in a fast and effective manner.”

Jeff Garshon said, “Two pieces stuck with me most, HCPs continue to be the most crucial influence in consumer behavior surrounding vaccines. And second, because they have pharmacists to administer vaccines and meet the requirements to store the vaccine— retail pharmacies will play the most extensive role in providing the public access to the COVID-19 vaccine.” 

Pete Messina stated, “The HCP is such a valuable influencer, they should be a major part of educating all sectors of the public on COVID vaccines.”

Marketing COVID Vaccines was an engaging webinar with solid attendance and great follow-up questions. During this episode, a few things became crystal clear. Manufacturers of the vaccine should work together to create patient trust and provide HCPs with the educational materials necessary to address different patient populations. And, it’s paramount to get COVID-19 vaccines to retail pharmacies where the vaccine can be widely and safely administered to people all over the U.S.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/14/first-covid-vaccines-new-york/