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Hospitals marketing COVID-19 vaccinations

Beaumont Health likes to present itself in television and radio advertisements and in media interviews about how it has treated the most patients with COVID-19 and vaccinated the most people in Michigan against coronavirus.

For example, Beaumont has had a TV ad out since early March with a nurse touting its vaccination center and declaring Beaumont hospitals have treated more COVID-19 patients than any other hospital system in Michigan.

“Beat the pandemic with Beaumont” on March 9 is a 30-second ad that leads off with how Beaumont has been fighting the pandemic with our community since Michigan’s first COVID patients were diagnosed.

“It takes all of us. We’re proud to have care for the most COVID patients in the state. And now, we’re leading the fight to end the pandemic with our new vaccination clinics, with every person who vaccinate. Our community grows stronger, and we can only do it together. beat the pandemic.”

While the ad was created to encourage people to get their COVID-19 vaccination, Beaumont is clearly sending the message that people can trust their medical care to Beaumont doctors and nurses, despite the pandemic.

When coupled with other Beaumont ads and announcements encouraging people to not delay elective surgeries, procedures or other routine tests because of fear of contracting COVID-19, the vaccination ads support a larger marketing message for Southfield-based Beaumont, an eight-hospital nonprofit system.

So far, Beaumont has administered 312,000 doses and has opened walk-in clinics that don’t require appointments. Some 95 percent of people who have been vaccinated are current patients, a spokesman said.

In a statement to Crain’s, Beaumont said anyone who registers for COVID-19 vaccinations through Beaumont myChart system could receive a variety of educational materials about Beaumont’s clinical services unless the person opts out of receiving them.

“For all people living in and around the communities we serve, Beaumont has always encouraged community members to be proactive with their health care by having a primary care physician and having appropriate health screenings and exams,” the statement said.

“Beaumont sends educational materials to people who are patients and to people who are not patients. If an individual does not want to receive educational information from Beaumont, he or she can opt out at any time,” Beaumont said.

For example, if a Beaumont patient or someone who registered for a vaccine is over age 50, they may receive a reminder for a colonoscopy, a spokesman said.

Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health, another large health system with 15 hospitals in Michigan, also has been aggressively advertising and marketing its COVID-19 vaccination program.

Like Beaumont, Spectrum has regularly held Zoom telepress conferences with doctors, nurses and administrators encouraging people to get vaccinated and trying to allay fears people might have of being exposed to coronavirus by coming to hospitals for routine treatment.

In a statement, Spectrum said its goal has been to educate the public about the COVID-19 vaccine and the clinical studies that indicate the vaccines are safe and effective. The nonprofit health system has worked closely with local health departments and other health systems to offer vaccination sites.

“We have been providing people with the facts to help them make an informed decision about being vaccinated. We’ve taken a community service approach using every aspect of marketing communications, including website content, media relations, social media, live panel discussions and Facebook Lives and videos, with a focus on vaccine as a path toward ending the pandemic,” said Spectrum, adding: “Our work continues as we strive to make the vaccine as convenient and accessible as possible for all.”

Spectrum was asked how it will use sensitive patient health information gleaned through registration for vaccines. For now, the system said, it has no plans to use the data for other purposes.

Zaraki Kenpachi