Campaign Approach to Reaching Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Audiences

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  • Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States, and more than half are born in another country and speak a language other than English at home.
  • Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) audiences are each distinct audiences with different needs.
  • Although aggregated Asian American vaccination and booster data show successful rates relative to other population groups, this community has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and information regarding the vaccines must be delivered by trusted sources using specific channels in the languages spoken by these audiences.
  • For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, hesitancy is a challenge. Their vaccination rates are lower among some subsegments, and booster uptake among this population lags significantly compared to Asian Americans.
  • To reach these culturally and geographically diverse populations, the Campaign is deploying a hyperlocal approach to get language-specific, culturally motivating ads and outreach materials to AANHPI audiences. This approach serves as a complement to national advertising that is being pushed into these communities and engagement with community-based partners to reinforce Campaign messages with local trusted messengers.

Audience Market Research and Testing 

A robust and continuous cycle of research drives all Campaign activities, including the approach to reaching AANHPI audiences. 

  • Primary research includes focus groups and interviews, creative testing surveys, and a weekly current events survey (a probability-based survey of 1,000 representative U.S. adults ages 18 and older), with findings provided by key demographic groups. Additional research includes audience segmentation and the monitoring of news stories, social media, and secondary research. Findings are summarized for use across the Campaign.
  • Additional outcome surveys and analysis, along with social listening, enable performance tracking and real-time impact assessment to inform quick adjustments to messaging in a rapidly changing environment.

Key Messages for Audience

For the AANHPI audience, the messaging approach identifies the barriers and the motivators to vaccination—both of which are closely connected to cultural beliefs and thinking—and the conversations about vaccination happening within each respective AANHPI community.

Messaging guidance is based on qualitative and quantitative message testing insights, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expert recommendations of audience-specific creative agencies, environmental scans, credible external research results, social listening, and iterative testing, among other inputs.

Current Campaign messaging centers on encouraging boosters among highest-risk populations—older adults and those with chronic medical conditions that make poor COVID outcomes more likely. Specifically relevant messages for speaking about boosters to those who are age 50 and older include:

  • During the peak of the Omicron surge, people ages 50 and older were hospitalized with COVID at twice the rate of younger adults, and those ages 65 and older were hospitalized with COVID at 4 times the rate of younger adults.
  • Nine out of 10 people who have died from COVID in the United States have been ages 50 or older and three out of four have been 65 or older.
  • Nearly eight out of 10 adults ages 55 and older have a medical condition like heart or lung disease, diabetes, or cancer that makes them more likely to suffer serious illness, including death, if they get COVID.

Campaign research has demonstrated that, across all audiences, messages indicating that vaccines and boosters together protect against the worst outcomes of COVID and that boosters extend protection to keep one safe from emerging variants have generally been the most effective at driving intent to get a booster shot. Our research has not found unique booster messages that are effective to this audience specifically; however, the following messages were the top performers for all audiences to encourage boosters:

  • COVID can cause severe disease, hospitalization, or death. Vaccines and boosters offer you the best protection from the worst outcomes of COVID.
  • Over time, vaccines may become less effective at preventing COVID. Getting your COVID booster extends your protection and keeps you safer from emerging variants.
  • We’ve entered a new phase of the pandemic, and we know more about the virus than ever before. We know that if you're vaccinated and boosted, you're 2 times less likely to get COVID than if you're unvaccinated. Getting vaccinated and boosted is your best defense against COVID.
  • Just because you had COVID doesn’t mean you can’t get it again. A COVID vaccine and booster are the best way to protect yourself against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

Other Campaign messages continue to encourage parents to vaccinate their eligible children. For parent audiences overall, Campaign research indicates that messages about the benefits of being vaccinated worked better than those that focused on the risk of children having COVID. Research indicates two primary messages that worked best for the AANHPI Parents audience related to vaccinating their children:

  • Decades of research on dozens of vaccines have demonstrated that side effects usually show up within 6 weeks of vaccination. COVID vaccines have been studied and tested for almost 2 years in tens of thousands of adults and children, and serious side effects are very rare.
  • Even though many children have had mild cases of COVID, you can’t predict how COVID will affect your child — even if they are completely healthy. The best protection is vaccination.

Partnerships and Outreach

Key Activities and Metrics to Date

The Campaign has engaged 80 partners, including nonprofit and community-based organizations involved in community development, direct social services, coalition building, health care and provision, cultural preservation, and civic engagement.

The Campaign provides AANHPI-language user guide toolkits to help partners and other in-language individuals navigate the website.

Partner organizations serve general AANHPI audiences and 24 AANHPI subsegments and languages: Pan-Asian, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Laotian, Khmer, Cambodian, Thai, Hmong, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Bangla, Nepali, Samoan, Chamorro, Marshallese, Tongan, Fijian, and Pohnpeian.

Examples of partner activities, which in total have resulted in over 29 million impressions since February 2021, include:

  • National In-Person and Virtual Events: Gold House’s inaugural Gold Gala in May 2022 provided on-stage speaking and ethnic media interview opportunities for Dr. Adelaida Rosario, We Can Do This branding and messaging on event publicity and collateral, and additional influencer engagement. International Secret Agents hosted a virtual concert event and a second hybrid event integrating Campaign messaging and calls to action (CTA) throughout for over 6 million impressions.
  • In-Person Local Activations: Several partners have integrated messaging and materials into existing programs that target community centers, businesses, and churches to promote vaccine and booster education.
  • Direct Mailers: Community partners have sent out direct mailers with Campaign information for local Native Hawaiian, Cambodian, Filipino, and Thai communities, among others.
  • Ongoing Community Services: Local community centers hosted vaccine clinics, in-person workshops, and food banks as part of regular programming, including sharing Campaign messaging and branding in-language to encourage vaccinations and boosters.
  • Phone and Text Banks: Local and national partners have conducted in-language phone and text banking by contacting individual community members to promote and to provide vaccine appointment support.
  • Social and Digital Engagement: Most partner organizations are leveraging social media or email lists to encourage vaccination and to drive traffic to
  • Content Creation: Partners created PSAs and social media content that included in-language CTAs to get vaccinated by doctors within the AANHPI communities.
  • Media Partnerships: Partners have leveraged existing relationships with local media outlets to promote in-culture and in-language We Can Do This messaging to address vaccine hesitancy in the Filipino community.

Other partner-related activities include:

  • The Campaign engaged trusted voices among AANHPI audiences to promote messaging on the importance of vaccination alongside event promotion via key partners, including AARP, the Dear Asian Americans podcast, Gold House, and International Secret Agents.
  • User experience (UX) testing improved the experience for in-language callers to seeking a vaccine appointment. Testers called the vaccine language lines to assess the quality of in-language assistance and provided multiple rounds of feedback to increase hotline effectiveness.
  • The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations hosted a briefing for members and the public in December 2021 about the Omicron variant and vaccinating individuals over the age of 12, generating over 500 impressions since the live broadcast.

Paid Media

Key Activities and Metrics

The Campaign is seeking to unify AANHPI audiences around a common cause while addressing specific needs by subsegments:

  • Comprehensive hyperlocal-to-national paid advertising tailored to reach hesitant AANHPI subpopulations across multiple channels, including TV, print, radio, digital, social, and alternative out-of-home (OOH), have gained more than 1.4 billion impressions in 50 designated market areas (DMA) to date.
  • The Campaign advertised in more than 550 independently owned local and hyperlocal ethnic media outlets, with nearly 30% added value secured and all culturally relevant. Advertisements are in English and AANHPI languages, including Chinese (simplified and traditional, Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Pacific Islander languages, such as Chamorro, Chuukese, Fijian, Marshallese, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Samoan, and Tongan.
  • The Campaign purchased AANHPI TV ads from 175 local, independent TV outlets in 19 markets.
  • The Campaign used trusted voices, such as radio DJ personalities, within target markets for more effective messaging and education.


  • Slow the Spread, including tailored AANHPI collateral, reinforced basic prevention measures early in the Campaign with ads in English and 14 AANHPI languages.
  • Building Vaccine Confidence, the Campaign’s advertising push, included TV, radio, newspaper, digital, and social media for this audience, initially focusing on older adults as the group first eligible for the vaccines, then targeting health navigators (the health care decision-makers in families), young adults, and now parents of children eligible for vaccination. Tailored ads for Boosters are also part of the Campaign. Ads have appeared in English and 14 AANHPI languages.

Earned Media

Key Activities and Metrics

To date, the Campaign has brought 1,248 story placements and an impact of 194 million impressions across multiple channels in national, regional, and local AANHPI outlets that have a widespread reach. Key activities that drove this success include:

  • A national press briefing that featured U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. Adelaida Rosario, and 11 AANHPI in-language, in-culture physician spokespeople.
    • The briefing was attended by 113 media outlets across multiple languages and multiple channels.
    • The briefing resulted in 170 stories, gaining nearly 14 million impressions.
  • Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month was used as a hook for pitching in May 2021, resulting in 92 story placements with an impact of more than 9 million impressions. Heritage Month 2022’s mat release resulted in 164 story placements at more than 6.99 million impressions.
  • We prepared articles for AANHPI media outlets to support Campaign goals. Recent examples of shared releases with press partners include reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine booster and facts to combat myths about boosters.

Creative Development

Audience-Specific Approach

  • Develop insight-driven ideas and communications that reflect AANHPI communities. Our approach is to identify and understand the barriers and the motivators to vaccination—both of which are closely connected to cultural beliefs and thinking—and the conversations about vaccination happening within each respective AANHPI community.
  • Create stories and situations that are authentic and reflect the communities, making the stories more relatable. Our stories and communications connect better when they are delivered by people who remind the audience of their own families and support systems.
  • Use carefully selected and custom-shot visuals in still photography and video footage that are intended to depict the target audience authentically.
  • Include AANHPI community members as on-camera talent as well as on production teams and crews to realistically portray the situations filmed. Conversations with these community members and their families and friends help further refine the approach and enhance community recognition.
  • Engage teams of translators, reviewers, and editors who provide language certification across all languages to develop and validate copy.

Sample Creative:

  • Slow the Spread: Korean print, Vietnamese digital, Tagalog social (March 2021)

AANHPI Image 1


  • Vaccine eligibility for 65+: Japanese social, NHPI OOH (April 2021)

AANHPI Image 2


AANHPI Image 3


  • Boosters: Asian Indian English digital, Filipino social (February to April 2022)

AANHPI Image 8


  • Boosters 50+: NHPI English digital, Vietnamese social (June to August 2022)

AANHPI Image 10


  • Parents of eligible children: English Pan-Asian digital, NHPI digital, Chinese social, Vietnamese social, Asian Indian digital Korean digital (July 2021–present)

AANHPI Image 4



  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Pan-Asian English digital (May 2022)

AANHPI Image 6


  • Partnership toolkits: Sample partnership materials in multiple languages

AANHPI Image 5

Contact Us

Please visit for more information on COVID, or visit and click on “Contact Us” for questions about HHS’s work to boost public confidence in vaccines.