White House launches media effort to promote coronavirus vaccines
The White House on Monday launched a targeted media campaign to raise awareness about vaccine eligibility and encourage Americans to get vaccinated as states open up doses to all Americans over the age of 16.
Top Biden administration health officials are participating in roughly 30 local news interviews across the country, according to a White House official, focusing on markets that have lower vaccination rates in order to boost confidence in vaccines. Some health officials will also participate in national interviews.
The officials include the top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, White House senior adviser on coronavirus response Andy Slavitt, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 equity Cameron Webb and White House vaccine coordinator Bechara Choucair, according to the official.
President Biden also filmed a brief video that was disseminated on White House social media platforms in which he urges Americans to sign up for their shots.
“Everybody is eligible as of today to get the vaccine. We have enough of it, you need to be protected and you need in turn to protect your neighbors and your family. So please, get the vaccine,” Biden says in the video.
The media blitz was first reported by Axios and will also involve officials doing interviews with Telemundo, All Ag News and comedian and radio host Rickey Smiley.
During a White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki noted that Twitter and Facebook are sending notifications to users and Google is also providing information about eligibility on its home page.
She also said that Fauci would join Snapchat as part of the effort.
Biden set a deadline of April 19 for states to make all American adults eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines — a goal that was met on Monday. Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over the weekend showed that half of U.S. adults have now received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.
However, officials are cognizant of the need to overcome vaccine hesitancy to ensure that enough Americans get vaccinated so the country can reach herd immunity and begin a return to normal life.
Health experts say the administration needs to work to address concerns of specific groups that are more hesitant to receive a vaccine, including racial and ethnic minorities as well as Republicans. Health experts have also been wary of the potential for the recent pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to further exacerbate vaccine hesitancy.
A Monmouth University poll released last week found that 21 percent of U.S. adults say they are unlikely to get a vaccine, a figure slightly down from 24 percent in March.
The Biden administration has invested funds from the American Rescue Plan in boosting vaccine uptake in underserved communities, in addition to standing up a broad group of organizations aimed at instilling public confidence in the inoculations.
Biden is currently on track to reach his goal of administering 200 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office. The White House had initially set the date for all states to make adults eligible for May 1, a deadline that Biden moved up earlier this month.
The White House says that the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not impact its vaccination delivery plans. Fauci predicted on CNN over the weekend that the vaccine will come back onto the market with some type of restriction or warning by Friday.
Updated at 12:30 p.m.