As the number of unvaccinated people turning up for a shot dwindles and vaccination centres close, Switzerland’s federal government is launching a promotional effort to encourage those indifferent to or afraid of jabs to come forward and get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Switzerland’s vaccination programme has almost ground to a halt. The percentage of the population that has had one shot or more has stagnated at around 52% over the past week. The bulk of those getting vaccinated are now people getting their follow up shots. Over the recent week, the number that had had two shots rose from 40% to 43%.
Some epidemiologists believe Covid-19 is now endemic and will remain with us forever. Under such a scenario, the fastest way back to normality is to increase the level of population-wide immunity. Given the well known risks from contracting the disease, the fastest, lowest risk and least painful path back to pre-pandemic mingling and mobility is vaccination.
With a budget of CHF 6 million, the federal government will promote Covid-19 vaccination on television, public billboards and social media. The campaign is the largest health promotion ever conducted by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Zurich-based Rod Kommunikation will spend 20% of the money creating the campaign and 80% on advertising placements. According to a report by RTS, the campaign aims to be neutral and without humour or glamour. Instead it will focus on the science.
However, trying to convince people with scientific reason can sometimes be an uphill battle, especially when people are fearful, trust is low and compelling narratives that compete with the science have become engrained beliefs.
Estimating how far an unglamorous, humourless, scientific, six million franc vaccination pitch will push us back towards normality is probably a shot in the dark.