White House plans a $1.5 billion ad campaign to win over US vaccine skeptics, reportedly
- The White House will launch a $1.5 billion pro-vaccine PR blitz, STAT News reports.
- The campaign will focus on young Americans, people of colour, and political conservatives.
- Recent polling found vaccine hesitancy in the USA is highest among Republican men.
- See more stories on Business Insider SA's home page.
The White House will soon launch a major $1.5 billion public relations campaign to promote Covid-19 vaccination and ease the concerns of Americans who are skeptical or hesitant to get their shots, STAT News reports.
The effort, which will kick of "within weeks," will use TV, radio, and digital means to target young Americans, people of colour, and Republicans who may be more likely to be hesitant or ambivalent about getting vaccinated, the outlet said.
The campaign will also educate Americans on where and how they can get vaccinated, and is expected to deploy celebrities and "trusted local officials" who some Americans may trust more than messengers from the Biden administration.
The White House declined to specify any further when the effort will be launched in response to an inquiry from Insider.
A recent poll conducted by Marist College and NPR from March 3 to 8 found that contrary to some of the conventional wisdom, Black Americans are not more likely than white Americans to say that they would not be vaccinated if a vaccine was made available to them.
The poll found that 49% of Republican men, 47% of 2020 Trump supporters, and 40% of white men without college degrees said they would not get a vaccine when it is made available to them.
And in a focus group conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, former CDC Director Tom Frieden tested out methods to win over vaccine-skeptical Trump voters in real-time, and found success through Frieden explaining the facts about the vaccines and acknowledging that even the scientists don't know everything and uncertainty still exists, the Washington Post reported.
The United States has three vaccines that have been granted emergency-use authorisation by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA): two-shot vaccines made by Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna, and the latest addition, a one-shot vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.
As of Sunday, 69.8 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, including 37.5 million who have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
The Biden administration has made significant investments in the US' vaccine supply recently, and now plans to procure enough vaccines to inoculate all American adults by the end of May.
And in Biden's first televised primetime address to the American people on March 11, he announced that the administration would direct states and localities to make every American adult eligible to get vaccinated by May 1. Still, however, having enough supply is only one component of getting those vaccines administered to Americans and getting enough Americans vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
Four sets of former presidents and first ladies - the Carters, Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas - got vaccinated on camera as part of a pro-vaccine public service message produced by the Ad Council.
Despite taking credit for the development of the vaccines, former US President Donald Trump was conspicuously absent from the PSA and has not made any effort to persuade his supports to get vaccinated. The New York Times reported that Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump, both of whom had Covid-19 in October, were privately vaccinated at the White House in January.
Not all top public officials, including ones who could be key in winning over skeptics, have gotten vaccinated. Insider's Tina Sfondeles reported Monday that 22 out of the US' 50 governors have not received their shot yet for varying reasons, including wanting to stick to their state's eligibility guidelines.
Axios also reports that 25% of the United States Congress has not been vaccinated, even though members of Congress were among the first Americans to become eligible under the Department of Defense's continuity of government protocols.