Marc Van Ranst

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Person.png Marc Van RanstRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Public health official, Doctor)
Born20 June 1965
Bornem, Belgium
Alma materHasselt University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Interests • Pandemics
• Public messaging
Interest ofJürgen Conings

Marc Van Ranst is a Belgian public health official and Professor of Virology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Rega Institute for Medical Research. On 1 May 2007, he was appointed as Interministerial comissionar by the Belgian federal government to prepare Belgium for influenza pandemics.

Chatham House lecture

In his 2019 lecture at Chatham House he makes several observations how he established successful public messaging (crisis communication) during the outbreak of the swine flu in 2009:[1][2]

Communication and public engagement MARC VAN RANST - Lecture by Marc Van Ranst, Belgian Flu Commissioner, at the ESWI/Chatham House Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Stakeholders Conference on 22 January 2019.
  • it is important to be omnipresent in the first days of the start of a pandemic, attracting media attention, making journalists used to get all important information from you (the public health official)
  • the first weeks are easy since your information will be accepted, "the news is brought the way you bring it"
  • if you have good preexisting relationships with the media, you can ask they do some segments for you for free on a "return favor" basis
  • Facebook and Twitter were not helpful at that time
  • talking about fatalities is important (to get attention)
  • inexperienced journalists will bring problems as time moves on
  • "get the vaccine while you can", "not enough vaccine" to generate high uptake
  • people in Belgium are also watching French television and were getting different information, creating problems for the messaging he tried to get out
  • Wolfgang Wodarg is incorrect to allege corruption and big pharma influence on scientists and government agencies

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