The Biden government on Thursday revealed a large-scale effort to boost Americans to get vaccinated against the Covid-19, starting its first national ad campaign and promoting a national network of community organizations, sports leagues, and other leaders to enhance confidence in the vaccines.
The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $10 million to air four new TV ads this month, two administration officials told CNN, framing vaccination as a way for Americans to fight back against the pandemic and reclaim their lives with the slogan “We can do this.” One of the ads is in Spanish and another, narrated by Henry Louis Gates Jr., the prominent intellectual, author, and filmmaker, is aimed at Black Americans.
The rollout comes as the Biden government prepares for the next phase of the US’s vaccination effort, with vaccines becoming more available and more broadly available. All adults are expected to be qualified to get their shot by May 1, putting worries about vaccine caution front of mind.
Beyond TV ads, the government’s vaccine confidence campaign cores around efforts to prepare trusted voices with the information and resources to hype the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine. The government honed in on those efforts after research showed that Americans were most likely to rely on doctors and community leaders as they decide whether to get vaccinated.
Nearly 300 organizations — including doctors’ groups, sports leagues, rural organizations, unions, and religious groups — have signed up to be part of that effort, which the administration is calling the COVID-19 Community Corps.
The government plans to provide those groups with weekly updates about the science behind the vaccines as well as talking points, factsheets, and other resources to help people calendar their vaccine appointments.
HHS and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also beginning new profile picture frames on Facebook to help Americans who have or plan to get vaccinated to boost their friends and families. Facebook will promote the frames and encourage influencers to use them, HHS said in a statement.
The Community Corps includes a swing of groups who could plea to conservatives — including NASCAR, evangelical Christian groups, and veterans’ organizations — a demographic the administration is honing in on after several polls showed there are least likely to plan to get vaccinated. About 47% of people who supported Trump in the 2020 election said they would not get a coronavirus vaccine if it became available to them, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
The Community Corps also contains groups representing Black and Hispanic communities, groups that are especially helpless to the coronavirus due to high rates of previous conditions and high-risk, essential work.
The ads released Thursday by the government will air on Black and Spanish-language media platforms, in addition to airing on cable and broadcast networks.
The Biden government also declared plans last week to spend nearly $10 billion to expand access to coronavirus vaccines for hardest-hit and highest-risk communities, including $3 billion to brace confidence in the vaccine in those communities.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy are meeting Thursday morning with founding members of the Community Corps.
Thursday’s rollout is just one step in the administration’s efforts to stimulate and increase confidence in the coronavirus vaccines. Congress allocated $1 billion toward that effort through the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that Biden signed into law last month.