Communicating during a pandemic: information the public wants about the disease and new vaccines and drugs

Health Promot Pract. 2011 Jul;12(4):610-9. doi: 10.1177/1524839910363536. Epub 2010 Nov 8.


To prepare for pandemics, countries are creating pandemic preparedness plans. These plans frequently include crisis communication strategies that recommend conducting pre-crisis audience research to increase the effectiveness and relevance of communication with the public. To begin understanding the communication needs of the public and health care workers, 11 focus groups were conducted in Vancouver, Canada, in 2006 and 2007 to identify what information people want to receive and how they want to receive it. In the event of a pandemic, participants want to know their risk of infection and how sick they could become if infected. To make decisions about using vaccines and drugs, they want information that enables them to assess the risks of using the products. The public prefers to receive this information from family doctors, the Internet, and schools. Health care workers prefer to receive information in e-mails and in-services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • British Columbia
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Male
  • Pandemics*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Public Health
  • Public Opinion*
  • Vaccines*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Vaccines