The seemingly endless government-funded radio, television and social media messaging aimed at getting the maximum number of Alaskans to submit to experimental Covid jabs won’t end anytime soon.

In an effort to convince ever more residents to get the shot, the Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services (DHSS) is planning to use $3 million in CDC-provided federal funds to hire a public relations company to develop a comprehensive statewide marketing campaign aimed at persuading Alaskans to get Covid shots and other CDC recommended vaccines. The wording of the RFP states that the campaign is for broad immunization messaging, which implies other vaccination efforts will be included in the messaging campaigns.

The estimated cost will be $1.5 million a year for two years.

About 71% of Alaskans, ages five and older, have now had at least one Covid shot, but new vaccinations have slowed dramatically over the past year. According to an email from the Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services, the agency has no official target in terms of what percentage of Alaskans it hopes will get the Covid shot.

While the vaccine PR campaign will attempt to increase Covid jabs, it is prohibited from including any information about the benefits of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine or other methods of treating Covid disease, because those treatments are not vaccines, and are therefore unworthy of mention.

“Immunization Program funds can only be used to prevent and control vaccine-preventable diseases through immunizations,” the DHSS email noted. “Neither Ivermectin nor hydroxychloroquine are considered a vaccine. There are no federal funds available for media campaigns for Ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.”

Without going into detail, the email claimed that the campaign would include information about adverse effects associated with the shot. To date, most state funded messaging around Covid jabs in Alaska has contained no information about adverse reactions or deaths that have occurred following the jab.

A state notice about the details of the vaccination campaign explains that the winning bidder will be tasked with building on previous Covid messaging and “public education campaigns,” while also developing new campaigns “in response to additional Covid-related issues, such as new variants, new versions of the shot and other issues.

According to the terms of the proposal, the campaign will use social media and traditional mainstream media outlets to disseminate images, videos and stories strategically designed to “change health behaviors” when it comes to Covid jabs and other vaccines. The plan includes working with state officials and partners to develop and implement a “long range strategy.”

In response to a question regarding whether the potential for adverse events and side-effects from COVID shots would be included in the messaging, the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services confirmed that “Yes, potential side effects and adverse events will be a part of the campaign.”

The contract is set to begin on July 18, as approved by the Commissioner of the Dept. of Health and Social Services.

Anchorage-based Yuit Communications has received an initial notice from the state indicating it will be awarded the contract. Over the past year, this company has produced social media messaging which promotes LGBTQ Pride Month, free ice cream for those who get Covid shots, and transgender awareness, among other issues.


— Click here to contact Alaska Commissioner of Health Adam Crum.

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Alaska to launch major media blitz to increase COVID jabs

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.