Before you begin work on your crisis communication plan, make sure that you have clear information and understanding of the crisis or rumour. Communication in the context of a vaccine-related crisis follows the same steps as any other planning process, but because of the urgency of the situation, compressed time scales apply and you must be able to implement the plan quickly. This step of Ready Business provides direction for developing a crisis communications plan. Understanding the audiences that a business needs to reach during an emergency is one of the first steps in the development of a crisis communications plan. The crisis communication or business continuity plan should include documented procedures for notification of suppliers.
Communications with government officials depends upon the nature and severity of the incident and regulatory requirements.
Human Resources (HR) is responsible for the day-to-day communications with employees regarding employment issues and benefits administration. Another important element of the crisis communications plan is the need to coordinate the release of information. Another important goal of the crisis communications plan is to move from reacting to the incident, to managing a strategy, to overcome the incident.
The crisis communications team, consisting of members of the management team, should operate in an office environment to support the contact and information centers. Think of who is best positioned to support you in developing and implementing your crisis communication plan.


Inclusive planning and action are critical – all stakeholders should be involved as soon as possible. The case study will illustrate how the death of a girl less than an hour after receiving HPV vaccine at school was handled and a crisis in public confidence in the vaccine in the UK was averted.
The risk assessment process should identify scenarios that would require communications with stakeholders. Management needs to develop the strategy and the crisis communications team needs to implement that strategy by allaying the concerns of each audience and positioning the organization to emerge from the incident with its reputation intact. Professionals working in your post marketing surveillance system may be well positioned to resolve a crisis swiftly by providing facts and information and supporting the communication. Remember that communication is not an isolated exercise, but part of a broader action plan for handling the crisis. The business continuity plan should include action to redirect incoming telephone calls to a second call center (if available) or to a voice message indicating that the business is experiencing a temporary problem. The plan should include coordination with public safety officials to develop protocols and procedures for advising the public of any hazards and the most appropriate protective action that should be taken if warned. Also think about possible alliances outside your usual contacts who could add their expertise or support; for example, an organization that might fund aspects of your communication strategy such as printing leaflets, or a scientific journalist who might write an evidence-based article counteracting unfounded information arising from a rumour. Lists should be updated regularly, secured to protect confidential information and available to authorized users at the emergency operations center or an alternate location for use by members of the crisis communications team.
The business continuity plan should also include procedures to ensure that customers are properly informed about the status of orders in process at the time of the incident.


HR should also coordinate communications with those involved with the care of employees and the provision of benefits to employees and their families. Close coordination between management, company spokesperson, public agencies and HR is needed when managing the sensitive nature of communications related to an incident involving death or serious injury. Using this input, the crisis communications team can inform management about the issues that are being raised by stakeholders.
This presentation outlines key things you should do to prepare for all types of potential crises and provides a simple action plan towards completing a preliminary crisis communications plan. All of these “audiences” will want information before the business has a chance to begin communicating. Notification requirements specified in regulations should be documented in the crisis communications plan. In turn, management should provide input into the messages generated by the crisis communications team.



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