Research and Message Strategies for Overcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

AHA Member Advisory
February 1, 2021

Research offers insight for reaching Black, Hispanic, young adults and others who are taking a “wait and see” approach

The AHA is among those working on COVID-19 vaccine messaging with the Ad Council, the nonprofit organization whose public service announcements helped spur 80% of the American public to receive the polio vaccine, and brought to life Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog and other successful public health and safety campaigns.

The Ad Council recently unveiled the results of market research into effective messages for vaccine-hesitant members of the American public. As part of this critical work, AHA encourages hospital and health systems to review and incorporate key messaging into local efforts to educate health care workers and the public about the importance of choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Key to this effort is understanding how to best reach vaccine-hesitant segments of the population.

In a webinar presentation of its research, the Ad Council touched on the COVID-19 vaccine demand continuum, which indicates that half of those surveyed have a “wait and see” attitude, with a lower intent to be vaccinated among Black Americans and young adults than that of the public at large. The research also uncovers what drives people’s hesitancy and ways to bridge the trust gap that must be overcome to achieve herd immunity.

In response to its research, the Ad Council is providing the

The Ad Council also released a series of Health Care Provider videos featuring Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical advisor, former AHA Board Chair Melinda L. Estes, M.D., and others.


  • Share this advisory with your communications, marketing and community relations team
  • Identify internal resources available for both staff and patients that might benefit from some or all of this information
  • dentify community stakeholders who would benefit from having some or all of this information


Visit AHA’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage for the latest information and resources, including previously released resources. The AHA will continue to update you on new campaign materials as they are produced.


If you have questions, please contact AHA at 800-424-4301.