CDC Fall and Winter Virus Season

CDC’s Fall and Winter Virus Season Communications Effort Appeals to What We Hold Dearest

The effort educates around virus prevention and encourages vaccination to help Americans protect their health

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Atlanta, GA - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new communications effort to address the anticipated increase of flu, COVID-19, and RSV cases this fall and winter virus season. Similar respiratory disease activity in recent years has resulted in high hospitalization and mortality rates in the United States, highlighting the critical need for clear communications around virus prevention to help Americans protect their health.

With the ultimate goal of reducing hospitalizations and deaths, CDC’s new educational communications effort aims to increase public awareness about the risks associated with viral respiratory diseases, as well as ways to prevent transmission and severe illness. This includes emphasizing flu, COVID-19, and RSV vaccines as the most effective forms of protection against severe illness, as well as other preventive measures such as covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, improving ventilation (like opening windows), and getting tested and treatment when appropriate.

“As we head into this respiratory virus season, we are starting from a place of strength. We have more tools than ever for people to protect themselves from serious illness,” said CDC Director Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH. “But we have to use them.”

Research-informed, emotionally appealing ads deliver an important message to Americans

Centered on the idea of doing “everything you can do” to protect yourself and your loved ones, the creative approach acknowledges audiences’ emotional ties to their families and friends – and desire to keep them safe – as a motivator to get vaccinated.

Creative elements encourage vaccination and other preventive steps during fall and winter gathering season, while also increasing awareness and perception of severity of respiratory diseases. The messaging takes a holistic approach to virus prevention to help counterbalance pandemic fatigue.

CDC’s goal is to represent the U.S. population in these ads, displaying diversity across its audience of adults in terms of age, race and ethnicity, and family status.

Using integrated communications to reach a diverse, representative audience of U.S. adults

Everyone has a role to play to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses such as flu, COVID-19, and RSV. The actions each individual takes will help protect themselves, their loved ones, and those most vulnerable in their community. CDC’s effort leverages a multi-tiered approach to ensure these ads reach a diverse, representative audience of U.S. adults – particularly those in areas with low-to-mid vaccination rates and high incidence rates of these viruses.

Today’s fall and winter virus season challenges require collaboration and coordination with a wide variety of partners to advance essential information that helps protect communities against the worst of these respiratory viruses. CDC aims to advance health equity and access to vaccines by leveraging critical amplifiers – including healthcare providers, state and local health departments, federal health agencies, and more – to carry the message and share these efforts with their networks.

For more information on fall and winter virus season visit

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