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AstraZeneca and how to immunize against negative reactions

IbyIMD+ Published 25 June 2021 in Magazine • 5 min read

A seemingly altruistic venture by the pharma giant badly misfired when reports of potentially fatal blood clots emerged. Tobias Schlager explains what needed to be done to rescue the company from the mire of bad publicity 

AstraZeneca arguably set out to create the one affordable vaccine that could practically be used around the world with low prices and a simplified, less demanding supply chain than other vaccines – a seemingly altruistic venture. And yet, that aspect of development has not dominated headlines or popular perception; instead, in Europe especially, sentiment has been measurably negative. Why did this storyline fail to float?  

When the Obama White House proposed universal health care, Republicans won the communications game by saying the government would be able to “pull the plug on grandma”. Science and facts matter, but communication and reputation are crucial too. The moment the COVID-19 pandemic hit, companies scrambled to develop a…

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