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Healthbeat: New ad campaign seeks to encourage COVID vaccinations

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — It’s no secret the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has, to date, far exceeded the supply.

But it’s not the only problem getting a greater number of people vaccinated and it has nothing to do with vaccine availability. This may seem hard to believe for people who desperately want the shot, but there’s a sizable segment of our society on the fence about receiving the COVID vaccine. A new national campaign aims to change that.

It’s a safety message about COVID vaccine from the Ad Council and CDC which supporters hope resonates with a doubting public.

“We know that people have questions about any medication that they’re going to take, particularly any new medication,” American Public Health Association Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin said.

The $500 million campaign called “It’s Up to You” targets the roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population which has not yet firmly decided whether to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Dr. Benjamin hopes this information blitz replaces skepticism with confidence.

“We know that knowledge is power and we believe that if we give people the information and answer the questions that we found out that people want to know, then they’re much more likely to be willing to take the vaccine,” Dr. Benjamin said.

That includes the Black and Latino communities who’ve been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, but whose vaccine hesitancy is rooted in mistrust of medicine.

“We’re working with the NAACP, Unidosus, so many grassroots organizations, faith-based organizations. We really want to meet people where they are,” Ad Council Chief Campaign Development Officer Michelle Hillman said.

The message of “It’s Up to You” will appear on television and radio, social media and websites featuring doctors, celebrities and community representatives. It’s considered the largest and most critical communications effort in U.S. history. It’s available in seven different languages with one purpose: achieve normalcy again through vaccine.

“We all know that getting vaccinations in arms is really the way to bring to life, to get us to the other side of this. And so we just really encourage people to learn more and get the facts that they need,” Hillman said.

For more information, visit getvaccineanswers.org or spanish.getvaccineanswers.org.

President Biden has said there should be enough COVID vaccine by the end of May for all adults who want the shot.

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