GSK has released a film as part of a meningitis B awareness campaign.
The initiative from the pharmaceutical company, which manufactures a vaccine for the rare and serious disease, encourages parents to ask doctors whether their child has received the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that all 11- to 12-year-olds should get a different vaccine, MenACWY, which protects against other forms of meningitis.
As to the campaign subject, the meningitis B vaccine, the CDC states that all teens may choose to get the vaccine but the organization specifically recommends it for teens who have certain conditions, such as a damaged spleen or sickle cell disease.
The film, I Never Thought to Ask: A Mom’s Quest for Answers, is hosted by actress Soleil Moon Frye and includes fellow actress Melissa Joan Hart, as well as a pediatrician and people impacted by meningitis B. The company premiered the video last month during a movie on Lifetime.
GSK began working with Frye in 2021 because she starred as Penelope “Punky” Brewster in the 1980s NBC sitcom of the same name, so she is well-known to its audience and is a mother of four, said Sierra Bodor, GSK director of vaccine communications in the U.S.
“She had a very authentic story,” and wasn’t aware that the meningitis B vaccine was different from the other meningitis vaccination, so “[she’s] a very relatable spokesperson,” said Bodor. “I know that many, many moms watch Lifetime, so it was a perfect partnership.”
In the film, Frye visits parents like Allison, who lost her son, Keegan, to the disease and had not previously heard of it. She meets with Katie, who survived meningitis but had long-term health issues due to the disease.
Frye asks Katie what she wants people to take away from hearing her story.
“I absolutely would want them to be aware of meningitis, bacterial meningitis, and how that can just devastate families,” Katie says in the video.
Frye also talks with Hart, a friend, about learning about meningitis B and speaking with survivors. Hart asks her what she should do.
“I think it’s really important to have these conversations with our kids, our healthcare providers and ask [about the vaccine] to be sure,” Frye says.
Clips of the film will air on Lifetime during commercial breaks through the summer, Bodor said. AMC Theatres will play some of the video, which directs viewers to the campaign’s online hub. The company will work with more than a dozen social media influencers to promote the film.
Lifetime and Cousins, a film and video production studio, produced the film. Chandler Chicco Agency served as the creative agency for the campaign.
This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.