Wyeth: Lobbying policymakers to adopt
a national immunisation programme.

The Issue: Pneumococcal infection is a common cause of pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections. Those most susceptible to this disease include the very young and old, according to one U.S. study. Children under 2 years of age are particularly susceptible because of their under-developed immune systems. While a 3-dose vaccine is already available in the private sector with a price tag of  €50 per dose, an advisory board on immunisation sought free vaccination programme to be made available against pneumococcal infections in children on Malta’s national health service.

The Challenge: Ogilvy were approached to assist in lobbying policymakers to adopt a national immunisation programme to protect those youngest members of our community. A workshop was created and the agenda for that workshop was developed to examine the incidence and burden of this invasive disease in Malta. It was also designed to gain an insight into emerging serotypes, the role of vaccination on antibiotic resistance and the need for vigilant surveillance at GP, hospital and clinical trial levels.

The Creative Idea: Ogilvy compiled the message formulation and strategy containing media outreach, public relations and the organisation of a specialist medical workshop where healthcare professionals and policymakers could share the latest scientific information and discuss areas of common concern during European Immunisation Week. The core message: ‘7 reasons why you shouldn’t be immune to immunisation’ was featured in a full page, long copy, press advertisement in the national press.

The Campaign: Ogilvy compiled a database of all key policymakers, paediatricians, public health officials, General Practitioners and other stakeholders. The communication strategy was to reach all groups using direct marketing, a call centre, e-marketing and media.

Ogilvy produced the event on a turnkey basis, handling media relations and the writing of press releases as well as compiling slide decks for speakers, designing collaterals including the workshop programme, digital marketing, scripts and provisioning for call centre services.

The Results: Attendance targets for the workshop held at the Hilton Hotel in April 2009 were surpassed. Furthermore, the National Advisory Board on Immunisation made a public announcement on 15th May 2009. The Board announced that vaccines against pneumococcal infections in children would be made freely available on the National Health Service in Malta.