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Documents Show Sununu Administration Knew Self-Promotional Ads Were a “Weakness” in Vaccine Campaign

Today, WMUR’s John DiStaso reported on new internal documents that show that Chris Sununu’s own Department of Health and Human Services knew that his self-promotional PSA ads were a “weakness” in their vaccine rollout, but Sununu continued to run those ads for months anyways using taxpayer dollars. As a result of Sununu’s ineffective vaccination campaign, New Hampshire’s vaccination rate is now last in New England and the state is no longer in the top ten in the country.

  • During a recent Executive Council meeting, however, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette – in response to questioning by Democratic councilor Cinde Warmington -- could not guarantee that “political figures” would not be used in future ads promoting vaccines.

  • As part of a response to NHDP right-to-know requests filed in the summer seeking details on a $434,000 no-bid, “sole source” contract with a local advertising agency to produce the PSAs, the state provided the party with a Power Point document that was the part of an internal DHHS presentation May 24 assessing what was then the early stages of the vaccination PSA program.

  • That presentation, made to a group of state officials, contained a slide page citing “weaknesses” of the overall statewide vaccination effort to that point. One of the identified weaknesses was: “No paid radio/television/print (beyond the Gov. Campaign) thus far.”

  • Earlier state documents provided to the NHDP – and first reported by WMUR -- showed that the governor’s office pushed to have Sununu included in the ads and that a Facebook official told the governor’s office that his inclusion required disclaimers for the ads because they were deemed to be political.

  • NHDP Chair Raymond Buckley said: “In May, Sununu’s own administration made clear that his decision to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on self-promotional ads was an ineffective strategy to get Granite Staters vaccinated.

  • “But Sununu ignored the experts and continued running those ads for months in a blatant attempt to promote himself. Now, Sununu’s administration won’t commit to not including the governor in the next round of ads that will air this month -- even as New Hampshire’s vaccination rate is dead last in New England and is no longer in the top 10 in the country.”


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