Meanwhile, it is introducing a grassroots network of local leaders and prominent figures who are set to encourage shots, drawing on research that trusted voices are best able to win over vaccine-hesitant Americans. Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday morning with members of the network, billed as the “Covid-19 Community Corps,” to kick-off the new campaign.
The network includes more than 275 member organizations, a diverse mix of advocacy organizations, sports leagues, faith leaders and other prominent voices. Participants include the American Medical Association, the NAACP, the National Association of Evangelicals and the NFL. The effort was first detailed by Politico.
Biden officials positioned the two-pronged approach as the next stage in the administration’s public education efforts.
The ad campaign is intended as “a hopeful and unifying call to action that we each can do our part to end this pandemic by getting vaccinated,” the Health and Human Services department said in a statement. The administration will spend more than $10 million on the TV ads in April, according to an HHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the pending announcement.
The campaign has been in development for months, with Biden officials working with several creative agencies and using a $250 million contract that the Trump administration signed with consultancy Fors Marsh last year. Officials have said they held the campaign until vaccines were widely available to maximize its impact.
Nearly 100 million Americans have now received at least one shot of vaccine, but Biden officials remain worried that tens of millions of people — including nearly one-third of Republicans — continue to say that they won’t get inoculated although the vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective.
Some of the Biden administration’s ads, like the Spanish-language “Un Rayo de Esperanza,” are targeted to populations where vaccinations have lagged behind. For instance, Hispanics represent 40 percent of California’s population and 55 percent of the state’s coronavirus cases, but have received just 22 percent of vaccinations, according to a review by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The Biden administration also is buying ads in media outlets that cater to Asian American/Pacific Islander and Native American populations, officials said.
Administration officials said they plan to use the new grassroots network to share health information updates and amplify pro-vaccine messages. Members of the public can also volunteer for the effort by registering with HHS.