Following President Joe Biden’s call on Tuesday, encouraging Americans to get vaccinated as we head into the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted a special media briefing for multicultural journalists and publishers on the updated COVID-19 vaccines, and the Administration’s commitment to equity and diversity in the pandemic response. Speakers included Dr. Cameron Webb, Senior Advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team , Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General and Dr. José R. Romero, Director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Georgeta Dragoiu, from the Office of Public Affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services on the “We Can Do This” Campaign. Also in attendance were representatives and members of the National Association of Hispanic Publications, National Newspaper Publishers Association (Black), Native American Journalist Association, Asian American Journalist Association, and the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association.
Below are excepts from the remarks and information that were presented:
“Equity really has been the center of our Administration’s pandemic response. Make no mistake about it: the impact of this pandemic has been disproportionate. There have been communities who have been the hardest hit and faced the highest risk throughout the pandemic. When we came in we had very little data on the race and ethnicity of individuals who were vaccinated. And then when did have the data we learned of the gaps in that primary series of vaccinations among Black and Latino adults, and then by November of 2021 we had closed those gaps. That’s not just a success story for the Administration but the partnerships with states, with localities, with faith-based organizations and community-based organizations, really a whole-of-society effort to center this idea that everyone in every community should have the resources and tools necessary to protect themselves, said “Dr. Cameron Webb, Senior Advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team. “So we get to this latest, new updated vaccination effort, and we know that we can do this. We know there is a path to making sure equity is centered in the vaccination effort. And it starts with respecting and acknowledging the people from the community really are going to be the key to our success. We are excited about the progress we’ve made but we’re more committed to the progress we will continue to make. Because the job is not done. And there’s still a lot at stake this fall as we move forward.”
“We have made extraordinary progress in the past two and a half years, and now, we have more tools than ever to help us make it through this pandemic. From the beginning, we made equity the centerpiece of our approach to COVID-19, and we want people to continue to benefit from the life-saving vaccines and treatments. The updated vaccine is specifically tailored to the dominant variant of COVID that’s circulating right now, and as we enter into the winter, we are at an important moment to sustain the progress we have made by making sure people utilize these life-saving tools and get vaccinated,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
“During my time as a pediatric infectious diseases specialist, and more recently through my work at CDC, I’ve seen that the reasons behind inequities in vaccination coverage for people from some racial and ethnic minority groups are systemic and the result of many factors. I’ve also seen the role that vaccination can play in reducing the impact that illnesses like COVID-19 can have on our society. This work is ongoing, but it is imperative that we recognize the unique health disparities faced by people in minority populations and highlight the progress and importance of protecting those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Together with important media partners like you, we can help raise awareness, increase vaccinations, protect loved ones, and reduce the impact of COVID-19 in society,” said Dr. José R. Romero, Director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
COVID-19 Public Education Campaign:
HHS national public education campaign, “We Can Do This” / Juntos Si Podemos is dedicated to increasing Covid-19 vaccine uptake by:
- Building the public’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.
- Educating people about the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as they can
- Informing people about how and where to get vaccinated by directing them to vaccines.gov
- A fundamental value of the COVID-19 Public Education Campaign has been health equity – and you can see this commitment across the campaign, from the ad agencies that we brought on, to the decision to translate materials in over 17 languages, including: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese – and these in-language resources are all available at wecandothis.hhs.gov/
- Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the campaign has partnered with over 1,000 organizations, the majority of which work with minority or rural communities.
- These partnerships alone have reached over 26 million people and resulted in hundreds of events, and tens of thousands of vaccinations.
- And just this week, the COVID-19 Public Education Campaign launched new national and local TV, radio and print ads geared at reaching Black and Latino audiences in more than 30 markets in English and Spanish.
On ads launched this week:
- These spots are just another example of the Administration’s commitment to reaching the most vulnerable communities with the most updated information on COVID-19 vaccines.
- The messages are tailored to communities at high-risk of severe illness from COVID and remind us that the updated vaccines protect against both the original COVID virus and current Omicron strain.
- It does so by speaking to values that many of us share – to be close and safe to our loved ones, especially as we are going into the Holiday Season.
- The first ad, On Point targets the Black community, and a Spanish soccer-themed ad called “No te pierdas el juego” (Don’t Miss the Game (Spanish) targets Latino audiences.
- New football and country music-themed radio ads geared at reaching rural communities will also run in 15 local markets.
- New print, radio, digital, and social ads will run in 25 markets to reach Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander audiences in seven languages
“Our newest ads this week, geared at reaching Black and Latino audiences, highlight the “We Can Do This” Campaign’s commitment to health equity. Advancing health equity has informed every aspect of our campaign, including the decision to produce educational materials in 17 languages, including: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese – all available on our partner website,” said Georgeta Dragoiu, White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, at the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs working on the COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.