A story of a Covid-19 vaccine and its PR journey

Back To All Posts

How could we write our December blog about anything else other than the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough? And whatever your views are of the approved vaccine, press coverage it has been very interesting to follow.

A vaccine to battle Covid-19 has been the topic of conversations since we first heard about the pandemic earlier this year and on December 8 th , 2020, the first Pfizer vaccination was administered.

While the Pfizer vaccine is a positive step in the right direction to a return to our ‘normal’ lives, we thought it would be interesting to delve into some coverage this vaccine has received thus far.

Prior to the Pfizer vaccine being approved, news about the vaccine chief spending £670,000 on public relations advisers hit the headlines with some asking what was delivered for that price tag?

According to a piece on Wired.co.uk public health experts said, up to 70 per cent of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve the holy grail of herd immunity. But a global survey of more than 13,000 people across 19 countries reveals widespread ‘vaccine hesitancy’.

This hesitancy fuels the need for a clear communications strategy with the aim to reassure that it is safe and the benefits of having it i.e. returning to normality.

In early November news was released about the first ‘milestone’ Pfizer vaccine offering 90% protection and bringing plenty of fresh hope.

The photo of 90-year-old Margaret Keenan having the first ever vaccination was a great PR stunt in itself but what potentially was even better was the second patient to receive the vaccine was an 81-year-old gentleman named William Shakespeare.

  • What followed on from William receiving his jab were an array of Shakespeare-themed jokes that were shared in the press and across social media including:
    So, if Ms Keenan was patient 1A, was Mr Shakespeare “Patient 2B or not 2B”
  • People are making a big thing about the second man to receive the vaccine being called William Shakespeare but I think it’s much ado about nothing
  •  Taming of the flu

At the time of writing this blog, news had just emerged of two NHS workers having allergic reactions after receiving the vaccine, leading to some problematic press coverage just a day after the vaccination was rolled out.

It seems that even though a vaccine is now being administered to the first phase of groups, the PR of it still has some way to go but like with all PR there will always be news stories to counteract the good and vice versa.

Vaccine aside, some good things we can all take away from this year include spending quality time with our family and learning new ways to speak to those we have not been able to physically see. But for now, let’s look forward to more normality being restored in the New Year!