Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative launched a campaign on Thursday to encourage Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available for them, marking one of the largest public education efforts in the U.S.
More than 300 major brands, media companies, community-based groups, faith leaders and medical experts are championing the campaign. Adobe, Disney, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter, Verizon, and YouTube have put their support behind it, as well as the NAACP, NBCUniversal, Telemundo, UnidosUS, ViacomCBS, and the Black Information Network.
The campaign emphasizes the message “It’s Up To You” to get vaccinated. Created in partnership with the CDC, the platforms at GetVaccineAnswers.org (and DeTiDepende.org in Spanish) provide the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines and answer frequent questions that people may have. Content is available in seven languages: English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.
“We’re listening to America’s top questions, understanding their concerns, and working to educate and empower people across the country — particularly communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic — so they can make an informed choice about vaccination for themselves and for their families,” Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, said in a statement.
The Ad Council has launched a series of national coronavirus public service announcements during the past year, including the Mask Up America campaign, and messages about social distancing and fighting loneliness during the pandemic.
The campaign, which is funded by $52 million in private donations, is aimed at building vaccine confidence and clearing up questions about how safe COVID-19 vaccines are and how well they work. About 71% of Americans say they’re willing to get a vaccine, according to a Gallup poll done at the end of January, including 9% who said they already received at least one dose of a vaccine.
At the same time, about 40% of Americans still haven’t made a firm decision about vaccination, according to an Ad Council/Ipsos Public Affairs poll done this month. The poll also showed that only 40% of people in Black and Hispanic communities said they have enough information to make a decision about getting a vaccine, as compared with 60% of the overall population. In addition, about 75% of people who are hesitant about getting a vaccine said they want more information to address their questions, even if they’re not yet eligible to receive a vaccine.
Getting more people vaccinated will get the country closer to herd immunity, and closer to people returning to their pre-pandemic routines. According to CDC data, white Americans have received 60.4% of vaccines, compared to 5.4% for Black Americans and 11.5% for Hispanic Americans. More than 66.5 million doses of the vaccine have been given so far.
“Just as we are taking action to address the inequities this pandemic laid bare, we need a concerted approach to bring an end to the pandemic and to leverage the lessons learned during COVID-19 to achieve optimal health for all,” says Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC.
The CDC brand will be on several parts of the campaign, and officials from the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services will provide scientific guidance throughout the initiative.
“Our goal is to help the Black community get the facts, despite their inherent distrust in the government and medical community, and help them make an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccines,” Kelli Richardson Lawson, CEO of JOY Collective, which created content for the campaign, said in a statement.
The campaign will engage the faith community as well through the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, and more than 20 influential leaders across U.S. faith communities.
The campaign will begin to appear nationwide this week on broadcast TV, digital platforms, radio, and social media.
More initiatives will roll out over the coming weeks.
Ad Council: “It’s Up To You,” “Mask Up America.”
Gallup: “Two-Thirds of Americans Not Satisfied With Vaccine Rollout.”
Hispanicize: “DeTiDepende Special Edition.”
Morbidity and Mortality Report: “Demographic Characteristics of Persons Vaccinated During the First Month of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program — United States, December 24, 2020-January 14, 2021.”