Public education campaign begins in January
Kamala Harris gets her COVID-19 vaccine
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received her COVID-19 vaccine with her husband, Doug Emhoff.
Associated Press, USA TODAY
A long-delayed education campaign to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will be launched in January, federal health officials said on Tuesday.
An earlier effort has been met with concerns that it was part of a $ 265 million and celebrity campaign to “overcome the desperation” surrounding COVID-19 ahead of the presidential election.
A campaign review was carried out and the Department of Health and Human Services was authorized to proceed on November 13, a senior agency public affairs official said at a press conference.
The science campaign will include TV, radio and print ads that will highlight the power of vaccines to stop the spread of the virus and help communities.
The public information campaign is behind the country’s vaccination effort, which began on December 14 with health workers. Managing expectations is a crucial part of program focus, the HHS official said.
“At the moment, we are really careful not to create demand when the product is not available to the general public,” said the manager, who spoke on the condition that the name and title of the person are not used.
Starting the media campaign in January makes sense, said Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communications at the University of Georgia and former communications director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national immunization program.
“You have to match your message with the ability of people to actually get what you are promoting,” he said. “If you tell people to do something and they can’t, it’s going to lead to frustration.”
HHS officials have said it is better to provide general education now and push later.
There was little to do before knowing which vaccines were going to be approved and what their characteristics were, Nowak said.
“You can do some things. Talking and finding the top influencers for groups that are going to hesitate about vaccines and building those relationships sooner rather than later is a good thing. But it would have been difficult to do much more than that,” he said. he declared. noted.
HHS is running the campaign with the help of several agencies. They work with minority-owned public relations companies with long-standing relationships with Black, Hispanic and Native American communities.
The campaign plans to include spokespersons and members of communities of color to spread the word. Google may be involved in health messages. The aim is to provide information so people can make up their own minds, HHS officials said.
Despite a slower-than-expected pace, the vaccine is expected to become more widely available to people over 65 and in high-risk groups in the coming weeks and months. It’s already being distributed to people 65 and over in Florida after Governor Ron DeSantis decided to put seniors first.
The message the public hears will change over time as more vaccines become available. Advertisements in January will be different from those in June to remain relevant as the virus and vaccine situation evolves.