CDC Hired Ad Firm to Write ‘News’ Articles Promoting Flu Shots for Kids, Elderly, Documents Reveal – Children’s Health Defense 4/14/23


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hired a marketing firm to write what looked like news articles but were actually ad placements created to persuade parents of young children and elderly people to get flu shots, according to documents obtained by Children’s Health Defense (CHD).

The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show the CDC in September 2020 hired Weber Shandwick, a marketing firm, to create and place unattributed articles on news sites.

The campaign was part of a multi-year, $32 million dollar contract between Weber Shandwick and the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) to promote influenza vaccination and strengthen NCIRD’s immunization program.

The FOIA-requested contract specifies the ad agency will develop a wide variety of media strategies to deliver the CDC/NCIRD’s message on flu vaccines — but not always in its name — including writing unbranded articles for media distribution, spokesperson training, celebrity outreach, social media blitzes, social listening and monitoring, podcasting and more.

The contract could be renewed for a total award of $55.2 million, according to, a federal grants database….

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