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How One Health Care Brand Took on Vaccines Online

Amelia Burke-Garcia

Growth in the use of digital health communication channels has dramatically changed the nature of communication. The internet provides unparalleled opportunities to reach a range of individuals with vital information about health and a variety of other topics — and to tailor messages to audiences’ literacy levels, cultural orientation and channel preference. There are currently 2.5 billion social media users globally, and 70% of Americans now use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content and share information.

Millennials are the most active generation on social media, with 88% of Americans ages 18 to 29 using Facebook and 75% of them having created at least one social media account. Fewer adults over age 30 use social media, but their adoption is still high. More than 60% of adults older than 65 use Facebook. These numbers show a significant increase from six years ago, when only 6% of people 65 and older used social media.


Projections signal continued growth, with recent data suggesting that worldwide use of social media will increase 18% by 2020. Some data report more than 5 billion people, or about two-thirds of the world’s population, will be using social media by 2020.


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Amelia Burke-Garcia is Westat’s senior director of digital media and director of the Center for Digital Strategy & Research and has nearly 15 years of experience in digital, social and mobile media. She currently leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities’ digital communication and branding work. Most recently, she was the campaign director for CDC’s national influenza vaccination campaign where she spearheaded innovative digital strategies and partner collaborations to promote flu vaccination awareness.