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It's Not Over Yet: AstraZeneca Educates Those At Extra COVID Risk


Image above: Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani at launch of “Up the Antibodies." Credit: Up the Antibodies

 

For millions of immunocompromised Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.

AstraZeneca, which recently began marketing its EvuSheld COVID-19 preventative antibody drug for this group, has now debuted a brand-free “Up the Antibodies” educational campaign from Edelman in collaboration with the Immune Deficiency Foundation.

“Up the Antibodies” includes a :60 broadcast/online spot starring Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, who contracted COVID-19 while receiving chemotherapy for lymphoma. Other campaign elements include digital out-of-home, social, strategic partnerships with The New York Times, and influencers covering patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

“My immune system was totally shot,” Bridges says in the spot. “Fortunately, you don’t have to wait around for the worst. You can up your antibodies before COVID comes knocking, ‘cause when your antibodies are up, well, you can get back to what you love.”

Up the Antibodies also includes a dedicated website, UpTheAntibodies.com, featuring the stories of not only Bridges, but also content creator Crystal King, who received a kidney transplant during the early days of the pandemic; and actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, writer Emily V. Gordon, whose struggle with autoimmune disease received serio-comedic treatment in their 2017 movie, “The Big Sick.”

“We’re Still Here,” declared King, Gordon and host Nanjiani in a virtual launch event on Wednesday.

The immunocompromised like King and Gordon, Nanjiani said during the event, are “still at risk despite vaccines and boosters.” They, along with caregivers like himself, have never gotten over the fear that everyone had back in the early days of the pandemic: “We don’t have the luxury of pretending like it’s over,” he said.

Over the past two and a half years, Gordon said, the immunocompromised were reduced to an asterisk when it came to information on how people should deal with COVID-19. That asterisk would tell them to consult their doctors, who often had no more information than they did.

Indeed, the immunocompromised were even excluded from the original COVID vaccine trials, “so we didn’t know if they would work” for them, said Dr. Dorry Segev, vice chair for research at NYU Langone Health’s Department of Surgery.

“Our advice was to get vaccinated, but act unvaccinated,” Dr. Segev added.

And so it still goes for King and Gordon, who have each now had two vaccines and five booster shots. Yet, as Nanjiani noted, “most people are not aware that we still have to live like it’s June 2020.”

He cited one statistic to drive home the point: the risk of transplant patients getting COVID and then being hospitalized is 485 times higher than for other fully vaccinated people.

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