The U.S. government on Thursday launched a national campaign to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. As part of the plan, officials have gathered a network of professionals, including clinicians, whom they are hoping will help answer questions and disseminate vaccine information within greater communities.
In a push that includes a month-long advertising campaign and social media outreach, the Department of Health and Human Services said it will use this COVID-19 Community Corps as “local voices people know and trust” to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.
As part of the launch, Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., MBA, on Thursday met virtually with 275 founding member organizations whom officials say have the ability to reach out to millions of Americans, reported the Associated Press. The administration plans to regularly share updated public health information and resources that this network can then take to their communities.
“You are the people that folks on the ground know and rely on and have a history with,” Harris told the group. “And when people are then making the decision to get vaccinated, they’re going to look to you.”
A 96% drop in coronavirus cases among nursing home residents since the vaccines were rolled out in December is a sign that the shots are working and are the key to a normalized life for residents, advocates say. But many long-term care staff members remain unsure or uninterested in getting a shot, and vaccination levels for these workers continue to hover around 50% or less, according to the latest data reported to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.
Key questions need to be answered before these workers move ahead with a “yes” decision, researchers have found. And medical professionals — particularly doctors — are consistently cited as the most trusted sources of vaccine information, along with family, friends and community leaders.
The Biden administration’s “We can do this,” vaccination ad campaign is being broadcast across TV networks in English and Spanish. HHS also has unveiled social media profile frames to allow vaccinated Americans to show that they have been vaccinated and encourage their friends and family to do the same.
The government said it has allocated $10 billion toward increasing vaccine access and confidence in hard-hit and vulnerable communities, including $3 billion of CDC funding to support its outreach efforts.