Pharmacy Focus: Limited Series - Celebrity Endorsements in Vaccine Hesitancy

Season 2, Episode 12,   Mar 06, 02:00 PM

On this episode, experts discuss the role of celebrity endorsements and trusted local figures in addressing vaccine hesitancy. Experts commented on studies examining how peer influencers and endorsements from figures like Dr. Fauci can increase vaccine acceptance by making the issues more relatable. However, they also noted the need to understand different factors contributing to hesitancy as well as ensuring endorsements match the right target audience and local context to be most effective. The podcast explored both the potential and limitations of celebrity marketing in vaccine promotion and uptake.

Experts Include:
Sean Young, PhD, executive director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology; Alfred L’Altrelli, PharmD, CFMC, MBA, the senior director of pharmacy at UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside; and Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, MBA, the executive director of CPESN USA.

Key Takeaways
1. The podcast discussed vaccine hesitancy and how celebrity endorsements can be used to address it. Experts commented on factors like personal beliefs, social networks, and online misinformation that contribute to hesitancy.
2. Pharmacists noted that conversations with patients have shifted from vaccine development to side effects and efficacy as awareness has increased. Misinformation remains a challenge.
3. Studies found that peer-led online communities and celebrity endorsements, like from Dr. Fauci, can increase vaccine acceptance and confidence. Experts emphasized matching the right celebrity to the target audience.
4. While celebrity endorsements may not directly drive people to pharmacies, they can make vaccination more relatable and impact attitudes. Local media personalities were suggested as alternative endorsers.
5. The podcast explored both the potential benefits but also limitations of celebrity endorsements in influencing public health decisions around vaccines. Understanding audience trust was a key consideration.

1. Gallagher A. Celebrities Don’t Persuade Patients to Get Vaccinated; Pharmacists Do. Pharmacy Times. January 18, 2024. Accessed February 15, 2024.
2. Bokemper SE, Huber GA, Gerber AS, James EK, Omer SB. Timing of COVID-19 vaccine approval and endorsement by public figures. Vaccine. 2021;39(5):825-829. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.12.048