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The History of Our COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative

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On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and the Ad Council immediately closed its offices—and sprang to action.

From our homes around the country, we convened partners across media, government, tech and advertising to disseminate and amplify critical messaging about social distancing, staying home when possible and wearing a face covering. Our first work was in market on Monday, March 16.

And as American life was completely transformed in the months that followed, we continued to disseminate work to shine a light on issues exacerbated by the pandemic, including mental health, safe gun storage, and anti-Black and anti-Asian racism—even as we looked ahead to the day we might have access to effective vaccines against COVID-19.

At a time when disinformation and misinformation ran rampant, in a moment when every aspect of the pandemic had become polarized, we knew that a campaign to educate the American public about vaccination would be crucial.

And we knew it would have to be even bigger than our already unprecedented COVID-19 work—bigger than anything we’d ever done.

It would be the largest and most urgent communications effort in American history.

This is the story of our COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.