Stick to the rules on COVID vax ads

alert warning

Strict rules are in place over what and how you can advertise COVID vaccination services

Pharmacies can use and display unaltered government provided material to promote COVID vaccination services, new advice states.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has this week issued advice to health practitioners looking to advertise their provision of COVID vaccination services.

The key rules the TGA lists are:

Advertisers must not:

  • use self-developed advertising about COVID-19 vaccines

Advertisers can:

  • use Australian Government produced materials to promote COVID-19 vaccines
  • use materials produced by Australian state or territory governments to promote COVID-19 vaccines
  • provide factual information to assist the public in obtaining the vaccine such as:
    • the location of the COVID-19 vaccination service
    • times vaccines are administered or opening hours of the service provider
    • whether there is a need for an appointment to receive the vaccination and how to make one

Government produced materials may be used in all communication channels including on websites, as flyers, or as posters as well as in the windows and on the walls at vaccine providers, clinics, pharmacies, and other businesses, the TGA says.

The advice stresses that government materials must “not be altered or added to, other than to record the factual information described above i.e. logistical information”.

This material also must “not [be] used in a way that may alter the take-home message for consumers, through either placement of the materials or proximity to other promotional materials.”

“Businesses with an interest in disseminating information about the availability of the vaccine may also use the materials in their newsletters, social media and emails,” the TGA said. 

The TGA added the warning that it “has powers to issue directions to advertisers, impose fines or pursue court action for breaking the advertising laws”.

In using government materials to promote COVID-19 vaccines, advertisers must be careful not to add:

  • the tradename and/or active ingredient of the specific vaccine or other information that might enable consumers to identify the particular vaccine or the manufacturer of the vaccine
  • statements or the implication that harmful effects will result from not receiving the vaccine
  • statements or the implication that the vaccine offered is superior to other vaccines (e.g. a statement about the efficacy against a particular strain)
  • incentives to encourage a consumer to obtain the service or vaccine
  • any comparisons between vaccines (even if supported by evidence)

See here for more information, including links to access the materials.


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