In this paper series on risk communication in times of an epidemic or pandemic, an international interdisciplinary team determined that transparent communication can build credibility and trust during a pandemic.
The most important components of successful communication during a pandemic are credibility (bolstered by accurate information and speedy response rates) and trust (built through empathy and openness). It is important to be transparent and straightforward. Communication techniques can effectively use social media, general media, community engagement, and health provider education and training. Recommendations include standardized messages, improved internal and external coordination, and uniform timelines for multidisciplinary teams. Lessons learned from past failures include building trust, announcing news early, being transparent, respecting concerns, and planning for the unexpected.