CareFirst Launches “Better Together” Campaign Targeting Necessary COVID-19 Vaccine Adoption
Broad community education and mobilization effort includes new public health ad, expanded resources.
Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C. – Today, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), a not-for-profit and the largest healthcare company in the mid-Atlantic region, launched a wide-ranging campaign to help educate and encourage people living throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia about the importance of everyone taking the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. The effort will urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they can and support public health officials’ work to achieve target vaccination rates that will end the pandemic.
“We recognize people in the community may have questions or even doubts about vaccines. It’s important we help as many people as we can understand how these vaccines work and that they’re a necessary, safe, and effective tool to protect people as we work together to stop this pandemic,” said Brian D. Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst. “Our goal is to provide useful information, that’s reliable and easy to understand, so that everyone makes this important decision to safeguard their health as well as the health of the people they know and love. Sometimes it can be hard to see the important role each of us plays in supporting public health. We plan to make clear how each of us can do our part. As we continue to encourage behaviors like wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing, we will take the next and most important step yet. Our “Better Together” campaign will support a historic national vaccination initiative, helping to ensure we’re all ready to roll up our sleeves and get the shot when it’s our turn.”
The multi-faceted campaign will focus on the steps people can take to help themselves, their families and our communities break free from the unrelenting grip of COVID-19. The company will take advantage of increased television viewership this weekend to unveil a new ad to carry this message to people living in the region. “The Deal” is a public health ad with a serious tone and a simple message. A series of individuals are featured throughout asking viewers to join in a deal – take the COVID-19 vaccine when they can, “for you, for me and everyone you love.” The ad closes by noting, “this is our shot to leave COVID behind.” CareFirst production tapped talent and resources in the Mid-Atlantic to support the local economy. The spot features actors who live in the surrounding communities and was filmed at Baltimore Studios. Created by Planit, an award-winning advertising agency, the ad was shot under the direction of regionally acclaimed director Dave Larson. Strict social distancing and testing protocols were followed throughout the casting and production.
“We saw this as an opportunity to talk directly with our community about everyone doing their part using our neighbors’ voices,” said Mack McGee, V.P. and Chief Marketing Officer at CareFirst. “There is a pressing responsibility to speak out and encourage people to take the vaccine when they are widely available. This ad is designed to feel different, to educate and inspire, and move people to act in the spirit of public health.” The “Better Together” campaign will also feature print, digital, out of home, and social media communications.
Over the next several months, CareFirst will expand its ongoing collaboration with public health officials and community leaders to support coordinated vaccine communications and distribution processes. These efforts will include online forums and educational opportunities with medical experts and influential community spokespeople targeting populations and locations most in need and the customers we serve. “It is important that the allocation and distribution of vaccines are equitable and prioritize communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, including front-line workers, the elderly, people of color and other vulnerable populations,” said Destiny Simone-Ramjohn, Vice President of Community Health and Social Impact. “To reach target vaccination rates, the work must start now with authentic community engagement and trusted partners at the neighborhood and grassroots-level before a transition to mobilization tactics as the rollout plans broaden eligibility for the vaccine.”
The CareFirst COVID-19 resource center has also been enhanced with new content to help members and the general public understand how the vaccines work, the differences in the vaccines currently authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and information on scams circulating about the vaccines. The center will also be a resource for providers and health systems to answer questions from patients. To ensure people have the most up-to-date information, the resource center will continue to evolve and expand.
“As a neighbor and leading regional employer, we’ve been laser-focused on supporting our members, employees, businesses and partners impacted by the COVID-19 virus and planning for what comes next,” said Pieninck. “The work of this campaign and with our partners will be critical to influencing everyone to do their part. Our community health depends on each of us stepping up and getting vaccinated when we can. The best way for all of us to get better, is to do it together.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CareFirst has been actively engaging and supporting its members, providers and communities. To ensure people have access to care, the company covered all costs for COVID-19 vaccines, instituted cost-share waivers for COVID-19 testing and treatment, offered premium credits and rebates for individual, small and large group customers, premium deferrals, and relaxed authorization and concurrent review criteria. CareFirst launched the Care Delivered Hospital Meal Initiative over the 2020 holidays, delivering 14,000 meals to frontline health workers in close to 70 facilities in the immediate region and West Virginia. CareFirst also provided accelerated payments to an array of healthcare providers experiencing financial strain and invested in community nonprofit organizations working to address complex and emerging health, social and economic needs. In addition, CareFirst committed resources for personal protection equipment (PPE) to almost 200 federally qualified health centers and independent primary care providers and recently delivered care packages to vulnerable members.
CareFirst will continue to work with jurisdictions and public health authorities to provide support, identify barriers and create solutions to coronavirus care for our members and the communities we serve. Visit CareFirst’s COVID Resource Center, social media channels and website to remain up to date on the latest information.
About CareFirst BlueCross BlueShieldIn its 83rd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.4 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2019, CareFirst invested $43 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com and our transforming healthcare page at www.carefirst.com/transformation, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.