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CDC Organization PR Case Study

  1. Key Audiences Required

The key recipients of the organizational action message are the general population, healthcare experts, government stakeholders, scientific researchers, and all organization bodies linked to healthcare services. Relaying information to this audience is significant because they are the facilitators and entities Moderna serves as an organization. Communicating with these recipients allows the Organization to come out and admit its mistakes while assuring the general population that they are ready to change its ways of handling things to avoid the same error from presenting itself. Doing so will inform the stakeholders that the Moderna organization has realized its mistakes and is willing to set strategies to amend its ways, illustrate the reason for the error, and describe its efforts to make amends for its mistakes.

Communicating to these groups of audiences will help the audience to be aware of the new direction of Moderna and the length at which the Organization is investing to solve the problem. This will earn the stakeholders’ already declining trust by assuring the Organization’s next course of action. On the other hand, the Company will have established hope within the scope of the audiences, saving the Organization some face and time to get its health plan up and running. To reach these stakeholders, the Organization will use channels such as press releases and meetings and air their urgency of commitment to restore their usual handling of things in the community while taking full responsibility for their missteps. Using reputable third-party entities such as medical institutions and healthcare bodies will serve as a stepping stone for Moderna to restore its image.

  1. Examine News Releases

according to a news release by NPR News, the nature of the news release was the course of investigating the apparent side effect of the Moderna vaccine on teens. This was an interview by Moderna himself following the allegation that Moderna is exploiting the stock market and the side effect of the drug on the teen. In the News release, NPR claims that Moderna was investigated for transparency, the significance of vaccine distribution and safety precautions. The news released by the Organization stipulates that the investigation by FDA was a process of safety precaution, and there is no fundamental link connecting the side effect of the drug and the monetary pursuit for producing the vaccine (Hernandez, 2021). According to the NPR News on the FDA investigation interview with Moderna, the news led to a sequence of disturbingly turning points for the company staff who claim the Organization failed to observe the professional conduct required by the field of medicine in terms of caring for the health aspect of people and not having the greed for profit to the extent of neglecting the side effect of the drug on consumers. However, the news release highlighted the determination of the Organization to provide a better response to the public and all the stakeholders since their decision to do so was to minimize the advent of anxiety, fear, and depression among the general public while assuring the population that they are not after the profits but to save lives.

Another media release by the CBC News desk was the call for internal review by the Director, including the overall overhaul of the Organization. The news releases issued by the Organization through the CBC news Desk responding to the accusations of manipulating the stock market were largely focused on transparency and accountability. Moderna stressed the commitment to complete compliance with the legal requirements of the United States Safety Commission and confirmed that they had placed the action in motion to carry out an internal review of their practice making sure that every bit of their business aligns with the legal requirements. The dominant these outlined in Gandel (2020), Moderna would take all necessary steps to ensure that its trading practices were legal and following the regulations of the SEC. The Organization also stated that it was fully collaborating with the SEC’s investigative team and committed to offering full transparency to the public.

  1. News Coverage Received by the Organization during the Crisis

The news coverage by BBC (2021) on discovering black particles in Moderna’s vaccine has been largely negative. The ongoing themes of the coverage have been questions of safety and transparency. Most news releases by BBC (2021) have concentrated on the possible long-term risks related to covid-19 virus discovered black particles and the lack of information offered by the Organization. BBC’s (2021) release explored the economic effect of the findings, with some news questioning Moderna’s ability to sustain profitability given its uncertainty. BBC (2021) also highlighted the problem of trust and reliability in the vaccine’s safety regulations and the requirement for further investigation into the issue. The theme that dominated the media outreach is the incompetency of the Organization in performing the task that the general population and stakeholders are entrusting them to do, painting the Organization’s reputation as a sham.

The news coverage received by the Organization during the crisis was largely focused on the safety of the Moderna vaccine. The news by (Hernandez, 2021) presented a questioning image of Moderna by putting their image and credibility under questioning despite being approved by the FDA and the CDC. The dominating and expressive themes of the media release by Hernandez (2021) included a series of questioning regarding the possible side effects of the drug, especially putting the safety of vulnerable age groups such as the teen and the rarity of its side effect to them. The media also highlighted the dominant discussion regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness and potency in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. There was also a focus on the role of the FDA in monitoring the vaccine and its efforts to ensure its safety and efficacy (Hernandez, 2021). Moreover, the Organization has been accused of failing to provide a clear and consistent course of action to the general population, which painted anxiety and confusion.

  1. Key Messages Meant to Communicate Organization’s Response

Through various interviews with prominent figures in the Moderna organization, assertive and determined messages were presented with the potential of leveraging the Organization and gaining the public’s trust. One of the messages by Moderna himself states that “Executive sales are made under pre-planned 10b5-1 plans, which are executed during open trading windows following the company’s insider trading policy” (Gandel, 2020). The statement from the Organization did not only claim the possibility of spreading rumours of manipulating the stock market. However, it offered an explanation that stripped them of the blame for the allegation. The statement proved that Moderna has no control over the stock market since insider regulations govern it.

Another message was presented in a press release by NPR News during the interview with Moderna himself on the crisis: “The safety of vaccine recipients is of paramount importance to Moderna. The Company is fully committed to working closely with the FDA to support their review and is grateful to the FDA for their diligence” Hernandez (2021). This came with an underlying message that the public should rest assured that the Organization aims for changes and collaborates with the FDA during its crisis investigation, painting the image that the Company is confident in its operations.

Another message by the Moderna spokesman came with major information that regarded their efforts for vaccine research as not randomized. In his email to CNN, he wrote, “The primary objective of the study was to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the bivalent vaccine. The study was not randomized and did not control for infection risk between arms, making comparing a relatively small number of cases problematic” (Thomas, 2023). The spokesman took advantage of media release as a public relations (PR) tactic to put forth their difficulties, too, and the pressure of the public demanding answers on the credibility and transparency of vaccine.

Moderna highlighted another message through the NPR media: “The company estimated that more than 1.5 million adolescents had received its vaccine and said there did not appear to be an increased risk of myocarditis in those younger than 18” (Hernandez, 2021). This was the statement from the Organization as its strategy to gain the public’s and stakeholders’ confidence regarding doubts surrounding the distribution of the vaccine to teens.

  1. The Role That Social Media Played In This Incidence

Generally, social media plays a vital role in either building the Company’s reputation or breaking it to nothing. In this incident, social media platforms managed by major news outlets such as CNN, NPR, CBS, and BBC, among others news media, contributed to spreading the incompetence and the lack of accountability of the Organization to the public. Major social media platforms accused the Company of poor preparation and professional business conduct, as expected by the public and healthcare professionals around the country.

When I meet the CEO of the Moderna organization, I will stress the significance of having a detailed and in-depth social media plan that will put them in an advantageous position when it comes to mitigating scandals. The CEO should make investments in social media platforms and cultivate online connections. Social media’s job amid an incident is to protect Moderna’s reputation. Moderna should use the connections they have previously made online to mobilize support in times of need. Making a communication strategy beforehand is a wise crisis management move for the CEO to make as a way of factoring social media into the response planning. The strategy should foresee crises Moderna might experience while conducting its operations and formulate suitable remedies. Despite particular circumstances, communication principles during emergencies require Moderna to acknowledge the circumstances, show compassion for those impacted, pledge to a fair investigation, and provide regular updates.

  1. Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Decisions on the CDC’s Reputation

The short-term effects of Moderna’s decisions concerning coronavirus incompetence will minimize the general population’s trust and confidence in the Organization. Such effects will undoubtedly cause support for Moderna to reduce and reduce the availability of resources for the Organization’s usage in its functions. Moreover, decreasing the support and trust from the general population of stakeholders will turn it impossible for the Organization to execute its plan smoothly without meeting the pressure from the public regarding vaccine distribution and testing.

The long-term impact of such decisions might be much more grave than it may seem. Gaining back the lost trust of the stakeholders might be a lengthy call for the Organization to venture and exert its full potential to earn, which will deplete the resources allocated for the Organization to operate, giving its competitor a winning edge in the medical market. Additionally, the Company could be subject to more public scrutiny and criticism, leading to further delays in its operations. When a team of investigators is attracted to the scandal, the Organization might face legal challenges and monetary penalties if mistakes are made in its surrounding allegations. Finally, Moderna’s reputation could be permanently damaged, decreasing confidence in its ability to protect the nation’s health.

  1. Essential Advice to the Leadership

I would primarily recommend an assortment of crisis information exchange/media relations best practices to the Moderna management in order to manage the PR issues brought on by their incompetency and the failure to address the allegations surrounding its operations; first, acknowledging responsibility would be essential for the management Moderna to openly and do for the mishaps caused by their method of handling coronavirus vaccine and provide a satisfactory answer on the allegations that paint their image. Owning and being accountable for their mistakes will help Moderna regain the trust they may lose permanently.

The Organization should demonstrate transparency within the Organization concerning its task to inform all the stakeholders by providing well-informed facts regarding the research outcome while planning to address the problem presented by the outcome. This will help build trust and confidence in the Organization and demonstrate that Moderna is taking the necessary steps to improve. The leadership of Moderna should also create and implement a plan for improvement to demonstrate that they are taking steps to address the issues that have arisen from business operations and failure to provide enough information on their research to the FDA. The plan should include detailed steps that the Organization takes to address any issues and how they will provide better information and guidelines.

I advise the leadership to engage the stakeholders tied to the Moderna operations, such as healthcare entities, government officials, and the general population waiting for their outcome so that they can devise a strategy to enhance their service that all stakeholders can accept. The leadership of Moderna can also monitor and evaluate their progress in addressing the public relations issues created by their failures and business misconduct. Doing so will help the Organization identify any areas that need improvement or new challenges that may arise.

By following these crisis communication/media relations guidelines, the leadership of Moderna can address the public relations problems created by their failures to uphold ethical considerations regarding their services while helping them to rebuild the public trust in the Organization.


Edwards, E. (2022, October 1). Inside the CDC’s pandemic missteps — and how they tarnished the agency’s reputation. NBC News.

Forbes, S. (2020, March 4). CDC And COVID-19: Scandal And Incompetence. Forbes.

News, A. B. C. (2022, August 17). Review finds CDC mishandled COVID-19 pandemic response. ABC News.

Temple-Raston, D. (2020, November 6). CDC Report: Officials Knew Coronavirus Test Was Flawed But Released It Anyway.


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