WASHINGTON – The Biden government announced an ambitious publicity campaign Thursday morning to encourage as many Americans as possible to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The campaign, with advertisements in English and Spanish running throughout April on network television and cable channels across the country and online, comes because the administration is rapidly expanding access to coronavirus vaccines, but skepticism about vaccines remains also high.
President Biden announced a new goal last week of giving 200 million doses by his 100th day in office, doubling his original goal of 100 million bullets in the arms of Americans when he was in office. And last month, in a speech to the nation, he announced a goal of vaccine qualification for all adults in the United States by May 1. Governors and public health officials in more than 40 states have said they will meet or exceed this deadline.
However, deep skepticism about the vaccine remains a problem, especially among blacks, Latinos, Republicans, and white evangelicals. And an episode at a Baltimore plant that made two coronavirus vaccines, where workers accidentally mixed the ingredients together, could also increase fear. Up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine were contaminated in the mix-up, forcing regulators to delay approving the facility's production lines.
Administration officials still believe that if many Americans continue to fail to be vaccinated, supply will soon exceed demand. With cases re-emerging and variants spreading in some parts of the country, it is crucial to get as many people as possible vaccinated to contain the pandemic and allow a return to a more normal way of life.
Two hundred and seventy-five organizations will participate in the government's new public awareness boost – including NASCAR, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and the North American Meat Institute – aimed at communities where vaccine reluctance remains high. Organizations include many Catholic and Evangelical groups that are expected to help address religious concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which uses fetal cell lines derived from abortion.
The group is collectively known as the Covid-19 Community Corps, administrative officials said, and the participating organizations can reach millions of Americans who trust these individual groups.
A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week found that the number of black adults ready to be vaccinated has increased significantly since February. Overall, 13 percent of respondents said they would "definitely not" receive a vaccine. Among Republicans and White Evangelical Christians, nearly 30 percent of each group said they would "definitely not" get a shot.
"Data shows a very large 'moving center," "said John Bridgeland, founder and executive director of the Covid Collaborative, a non-partisan group of political and scientific leaders working on vaccine education. “Although many subgroups in the population are reluctant to use vaccines and we are following it very closely, our numbers show that we can achieve herd immunity, so it is before us to get facts and information into the hands of millions of Americans. "
Government officials said their research showed that vaccine news from medical professionals and community leaders, rather than celebrities or the president, was often more convincing.
April 1, 2021 at 1:50 p.m. ET
"We're not always the best messengers," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month when speaking about the hesitation of the vaccine among conservatives.
The full list of participating organizations includes health professionals, scientists, community organizations, religious leaders, corporations, rural interest groups, civil rights organizations, sports leagues, and athletes. The Ministry of Health and Human Services is also helping to raise awareness about vaccines by posting "Let's vaccinate" frames that Facebook users can add to their profile photos.
Part of the challenge of convincing skeptical Americans is the personal and varied reasons behind the vaccine's hesitation.
"I have a few bags that contain religious reasons for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," said Shirley Bloomfield, managing director of N.T.C.A. – The Rural Broadband Association, which communicated to the White House what it hears from members of its group. "There are a lot of pockets that people have already had Covid in and the feeling is," Well, we all got it, so we're not really under pressure. "
The tone of the ads is hopeful and is intended as a call to action. Anyone can help end the pandemic by getting vaccinated.
To further emphasize this point, the Department of Health and Human Services has separately purchased a multimillion-dollar advertisement in black and Spanish language media and outlets reaching Asian-American and tribal communities to reaffirm the message about safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.
The government announced last week that it is allocating nearly $ 10 billion to improve access to vaccines and confidence in minority communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
Biden officials have worked with many of the groups involved in the Covid-19 Community Corps since the presidential change, but the formal launch of an advertising campaign had to wait until vaccine supplies were at a level where people could be quick to those provided to them Information reacts.