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Flu Shot Campaign

The Challenge

Studies have shown that hospital-required influenza results in up to 60% mortality for high-risk patients. Further, there is an average of 3,500 flu-related deaths in Illinois each year. To decrease the spread of flu and inhibit possible hospital-related flu complications, UI Health implemented a mandatory flu shot policy for employees and volunteers, with a goal of 100% compliance. In previous years — when the flu shot was voluntary — UI Health was able to achieve a rate of only 66% compliance.

To help ensure compliance with the new policy, a strategic marketing campaign was developed to communicate the importance of the flu vaccine and its mandatory requirement. The Marketing team had to determine appropriate messaging that would resonate with the target audience — all UI Health employees and volunteers — to help them understand the policy and the compelling reasons for which UI Health chose to implement the policy.

The Process

The project strategy focused on a utilizing a variety of internal-communications tactics, including:

  • Print: Posters and flyers in different hospital/clinic locations, table tents on cafeteria/break room tables, and reminder cards.
  • Digital: A series of emails to employees and volunteers, intranet announcements, and screensavers on hospital work stations.

To drive campaign engagement Marketing called upon real employees to star in the campaign posters. In addition to being well-known, well-respected individuals around the organization, the employees were strategically selected from departments that historically have had low compliance rates. By targeting these low-compliance groups, Marketing was confident that both the featured employees and their co-workers would be strongly encouraged to get the flu shot.

Messaging included a mix of creative and informative copy:

  • “Get the flu shot. Protect your patients. Protect yourself.”
  • “Get the flu shot. I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeve.”
  • “Get the flu shot. Stick it to the flu!”
  • Messaging containing event details and other vaccine opportunities.

The rollout began six weeks before Flu Shot Day, with flyers, posters, and weekly emails. The screensavers on hospital computers went live two weeks before the event to ensure focused messaging right up to Flu Shot Day. On the day of the event, participants were given buttons, which served as a visual reminder to those who had not yet got their shot.


There were qualitative and quantitative results:



For 2015, the first year of the new policy, UI Health achieved its goal of 100% flu shot compliance.



The employee-featured campaign increased both employee interest and engagement.


Award of Merit - Issue Management

The Illinois Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations awarded UI Health the Award of Merit in Issue Management. This is any internal or external project dedicated to the management of a central issue that impacts the health care organization.