WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday morning announced an ambitious advertising campaign intended to encourage as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The campaign, with ads in English and Spanish that will air throughout April on network TV and cable channels nationwide, as well as online, comes as the administration is rapidly expanding access to coronavirus vaccines.
President Biden announced last week a new goal of administering 200 million doses by his 100th day in office, doubling his initial goal of “100 million shots in the arms” of Americans that he set when he was inaugurated. And last month, in an address to the nation, he announced a goal of making all adults in the United States eligible for a vaccine by May 1. Governors and public health officials in more than 40 states have said that they will meet or beat that deadline.
But deep skepticism about the vaccine remains a problem, particularly among Black people, Latinos, Republicans and white evangelicals. Administration officials expect to soon face the possibility of supply exceeding demand if many Americans remain reluctant to be vaccinated. And widespread opposition to vaccination could set back a return to a more normal way of life as the virus continues to spread.
A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week found that the number of Black adults willing to be vaccinated had increased substantially since February. But 13 percent of respondents over all said that they would “definitely not” get a vaccine. Among Republicans and white evangelical Christians, almost 30 percent of each group said that they would “definitely not” get a shot.
Administration officials said their research showed that vaccine messaging from medical professionals and community leaders, rather than from celebrities or the president, was often more persuasive.
“We are not always the best messengers,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said last month when speaking about vaccine hesitancy among conservatives.
minority communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Biden officials have been working with many of the groups involved in the Covid-19 Community Corps since the presidential transition, but the formal rollout of a promotional campaign had to wait, they said, until the vaccine supply was at a level where people could quickly act on the information provided to them.