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“Science & Shame” Messages Missing the Mark with Vaccine Holdouts. New PSA Project Tries a Fresh Approach.

The Shoulda Got the Shot project uses emotionally charged, non-political, real-people PSAs to persuade vaccine skeptics to get the jab.

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, September 28, 2021 / -- Frank Kilpatrick, like so many others, is alarmed that some 30 percent of the U.S. population haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine. So, he and his team of concerned citizens have come together to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign aimed at moving the needle (literally) on these numbers. The thinking behind their project? If what we’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to shift gears.

“Clearly, vaccine holdouts aren’t receptive to the current top-down ‘science and shame’ approaches aimed at persuading them to get the jab,” says Kilpatrick, the campaign’s Executive Producer, a songwriter and the director of non-profit organization Ribbons for Research. “So, we’ve come up with a more heartfelt, emotional, non-preachy, politically neutral approach we believe will resonate and move these groups to take action.”

Kilpatrick’s collaborators on the project include Director Eric Mittleman, Producer Linda Kilpatrick, and Associate Producer Rayko Takahashi.

The Shoulda Got the Shot campaign features portrayals and testimonials from real people who have been seriously ill or lost a loved one due to COVID-19. Kilpatrick is hoping media outlets across the U.S. will lend their support by placing these PSAs into rotation in their local markets.

So far, the following TV spots have been completed:

30-second “Ripped From the Headlines” Shoulda Got the Shot:
60-second “Real People” Shoulda Got the Shot:
30-second “Real People” Shoulda Got the Shot:
SPANISH 30-second “Real People” Shoulda Got the Shot:

Radio spots are available as well.

To understand more about why Kilpatrick and team have decided to devote so much time and so many resources to creating this PSA project, here is a quick mini interview with him:

Q: Who does the Shoulda Got the Shot campaign target?
A: We’re aiming this campaign at various underserved populations: politically polarized, lower income, minority, and rural audiences. We have similar social media strategy aimed at the younger “party hardy” populations that feel invincible.

Q: Why is it so urgent?
A: Currently, the U.S. vaccination rate stands at 71 percent. This is not enough to achieve herd immunity, which could be essential to our very survival. And, at any rate, many areas of the U.S. are far below this 71 percent figure.

Quite simply, the more holdouts we can convince to get the shot, the more lives we’ll save. And, with the Delta variant raging, we cannot afford to wait.

Q: What makes this campaign different?
A: Our Shoulda Got the Shot PSA campaign doesn’t lecture its audience. It isn’t a blatant endorsement by politicians and scientists. It doesn’t tell people what to think. Our approach is based on the most proven type of human persuasion: human connection. These testimonials are raw and emotional and real. People will be more likely to trust these spokespeople in a way that they’d never trust a politician or scientist. These are people who look like them.

I mean, you can feel Martha’s anguish when her voice breaks as she talks about how her Daddy died from a hole in his lung caused by COVID-19. When she goes on to encourage others to get vaccinated, it’s clear that it comes from a genuine desire to prevent suffering. These spots are incredibly compelling.

Q: So… why you? What drove you to launch this campaign?
A: First, this is a cause I deeply care about. I feel much the same way about it that I felt about the Stay Alive suicide prevention documentary film I produced 18 months ago. But also, thanks to my work in the healthcare communications field, I have many years of experience in producing these kinds of permission-based approaches that feature an appeal to community agreement. I know from experience this is a powerful strategy.

Q: How can others help?
A: Please… if you work with a TV, cable, or radio station, or have influence with any other media outlet, air these PSAs. Share this lifesaving content with your community. The first step is to call (424) 262-5570 to get copies of the spots delivered to you. And you can also visit for a preview and for more information.

“I really have a lot of hope for this campaign,” adds Kilpatrick. “If we all join together to share these vital messages, we can help improve the numbers in under-vaccinated communities across the U.S. We can save lives—perhaps ultimately even our own.”

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Frank Kilpatrick is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur experienced in creating successful new communications businesses. He was the Founder of Healthcare Communications Group.

Balancing his business endeavors with hands-on philanthropy, Frank’s social contributions have included producing the Gratitude Meditation Podcast ( As a songwriter, he often collaborates with Grammy Award winner Producer Alex Wand and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rayko (

Frank attended the University of California-Berkeley.

Dottie DeHart
DeHart & Company Public Relations
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