Resource: FDA Approval Messaging and Outreach Tools

The FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine presents an opportunity for public health experts and state, local and federal officials to further emphasize the safety and effectiveness of the three authorized vaccines. 

The following communications resources — research-based messaging, answers to tough questions, sample social media posts, and tips for outreach in your community — can help you answer questions about FDA approval and its implications, promote vaccination in your area, and boost confidence among vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Research and Topline Messages

Vaccination is the best path to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and the CDC recommends that all adults and adolescents age 12 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA approval is an important opportunity to reach unvaccinated people with effective messaging that can break through hesitancy and misinformation.

Research and polling have shown that FDA approval can be a motivating factor for unvaccinated people to get vaccinated and/or vaccinate their children. For example, a recent survey of parents found that 72%, including more than half of unvaccinated parents (56%), said the FDA’s full approval would make them more confident in the safety of vaccines. Two-thirds (67%), including 51% of unvaccinated parents, said full approval would make them more likely to get their children vaccinated. Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, has called FDA approval “the next and probably the last big opportunity to sharpen and drive home a clear message that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective.”

Communicating About FDA Approval to Build Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines

In a poll conducted in the days preceding the FDA’s announcement, American adults identified the language that would be most likely to give them confidence in the FDA’s approval process and the vaccines. In the August 19-22 poll, messages that unvaccinated adults said would make them more confident in vaccine safety included:

  • FDA’s full approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine is an important milestone that should reassure anyone who has concerns about getting vaccinated. (27% said more confident, 54% no impact either way)
  • With the FDA granting full approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, Americans can be even more confident that the COVID-19 vaccines work and are safe. (26% more confident, 52% no impact)

In the poll, unvaccinated adults were also asked which descriptions of FDA approval would give them most confidence in the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. 32% chose this as one of two statements:

“For full approval of a new drug, the FDA requires extensive data on safety and effectiveness, inspection of manufacturing facilities, and a comprehensive review of all clinical and “real-world” use.”

Download the full one-pager from the de Beaumont Foundation with additional message testing results.

Answers to Tough Questions

Visit our Answers to Tough Questions for full messaging guidance to help you answer questions in your community, such as:

What is Comiarty?
Comirnaty is the new name for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

What went into full approval?
Additional analysis of the effectiveness and safety data from tens of thousands of clinical trial participants, as well as the analysis of real-world safety data. Read more.

Booster doses? Age of approval?
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in individuals 16 and older as a two-dose regimen. The EUA is still in effect, as are the CDC recommendations, for adolescents age 12-15 to get vaccinated and for certain immunocompromised people to get a booster dose. Read more.

What about Moderna and Johnson & Johnson?
The vaccines will continue to be safely administered through emergency use authorization as the FDA reviews data about their real-world use. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was the first vaccine to receive EUA, which is why it is the first to have enough data to receive full approval. Moderna has also submitted an application for full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, and the FDA is currently reviewing that data. Read more.

Social Media Sample Posts and Shareable Graphics

Sample Posts

Have you been waiting for full FDA approval to get vaccinated? It’s time to schedule your appt! Now that the FDA has issued full approval for the first COVID-19 vaccine, we can all be even more confident that these vaccines work and are safe. Learn more: [insert link to your local/state landing page]

Rigorous testing, real-world data, tens of thousands in clinical trials, and billions of doses administered. That’s how we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective — and now the first COVID vaccine has full FDA approval. Get yours today: [link to local state landing page]

After reviewing even more data about the first COVID-19 vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, the FDA has issued full approval to the Pfizer vaccine. Join the millions who have already gotten a safe, effective, and free COVID-19 vaccine. [link to local state landing page]

As COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, + deaths increase, the unvaccinated continue to be most at risk. The good news: the FDA has fully approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. Get yours today to protect yourself and your loved ones from the delta variant. [link to local/state landing page]

Shareable Graphics

Click to download a folder with six new graphics on FDA approval, sized for various social platforms.

FDA approval... the ultimate vote of confidence
Click to download full size image
The first COVID vaccine has cleared every level of review
Click to download full size image
  1. FDA approval requires extensive data (Download for Twitter/Facebook | Download for Instagram)
  2. The ultimate vote of confidence (Download for Twitter/Facebook | Download for Instagram)
  3. All three vaccines work and are safe (Download for Twitter/Facebook | Download for Instagram)
  4. For people who said they’d “wait and see” (Download for Twitter/Facebook | Download for Instagram)
  5. Americans can be even more confident (Download for Twitter/Facebook Download for Instagram)
  6. New name, same vaccine (Download for Twitter/Facebook | Download for Instagram)
  7. Download all files

Find additional sample social media posts, along with downloadable graphics, in Made to Save’s digital toolkit.

Tips and Tactics for Sharing in Your Community

Polling and research have shown that full FDA approval could be a significant motivating factor for unvaccinated people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are tips and tactics for how to reach members of your community about this development.

  1. In the Media. Submit an op-ed to your local paper about what FDA approval means, using the topline messages of this toolkit that have been message tested. Pitch your local paper and TV stations on covering the FDA approval and what it means in your community, and offer to provide answers to FAQs or connect the reporters with other local voices, such as health providers or other trusted messengers.
  2. Engaging with Schools and Community Partners. Equip partners with information and resources, such as a FAQ or one-pager, to schools and community partners to facilitate widespread distribution of information about FDA approval. Share social media messages with community partners and ask for them to amplify within their networks.
  3. Town Halls with Trusted Messengers. Host a virtual town hall to provide updates and answer questions in the community about FDA approval, along with other recent developments, such as booster doses.
  4. Promotion of Vaccination Clinic Events. Because there is a group of people who have reported they have been waiting for FDA approval to get vaccinated, targeted promotion of vaccination clinic events can help build momentum from the FDA approval announcement.
  5. Spread the News Across Channels. Adapt and use the sample social media posts to amplify this development across platforms, including social media, email newsletters, your department web page, and more.