News India Times – that’s all you need to know Cover Story News India Times April 9, 2021 5 America watched as two Indian-Americans kicked off President Biden’s nationwide vaccine initiative Mobilizing The Grassroots -WASHINGTON T he Biden administration on Thursday April 1, 2021, unveiled its first television advertisements to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, part of a series of pro-vaccine messages as theWhite House pushes to achieve the president’s goal of returning the country to some normalcy by July Fourth. The “We Can Do This” campaign will air across cable and broadcast sta- tions nationwide and include targeted multimillion-dollar ad buys for Black and Spanish-language media. In a virtual kickoff event Thursday morning, Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy intro- duced a grass-roots network of local lead- ers and prominent figures billed as the “Covid-19 Community Corps,”who are set to encourage shots, drawing on research that trusted voices are best able to win over vaccine-hesitant Americans. “You are the people that folks on the ground know and rely on and have a his- tory with,” Harris said at the kickoff. “And when people are then making a decision to get vaccinated, they’re going to look to you.” The network includes more than 275 member organi- zations, a diverse mix of advocacy organizations, sports leagues, faith leaders and other prominent voices. Partici- pants include the American Medical Association, the NAACP, the Na- tional Association of Evangelicals and the NFL. The effort was first de- tailed by Politico. Biden officials positioned the two-pronged approach as the next stage in the adminis- tration’s public education efforts. The ad campaign is intended as “a hopeful and unifying call to action that we each can do our part to end this pandemic by getting vaccinated,” the Health and Hu- man Services Department said in a state- ment. The administration will spend more than $10 million on the TV ads in April, according to an HHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the pending announcement. The campaign has been in develop- ment for months, with Biden officials working with several creative agencies and using a $250 million contract that the Trump administration signed with consul- tancy Fors Marsh last year. Officials have said they held the campaign until vaccines were widely available to maximize its impact. The administration also is rolling out new pro-vaccine images that people can use to frame their profile pictures on social media, with Facebook set to promi- nently promote them, and will run ads on digital outlets. Nearly 100 million Americans have received at least one shot of vaccine, but Biden officials remain worried that tens of millions of people – including nearly one- third of Republi- cans – continue to say they won’t getinoculated al- though the vac- cines have been shown to be safe and effective. Some of the Biden admin- istration’s ads, such as the Spanish-lan- guage “Un Rayo de Esperanza,” are targeted to populations where vac- cinations have lagged behind. For instance, Hispanics represent 40% of California’s population and 55% of the state’s coronavirus cases, but have re- ceivedjust 22% of vaccinations, according to a review by the Kaiser Family Founda- tion. The Biden administration also is buying ads in media outlets that cater to Asian American/Pacific Islander and Native Americanpopulations, officials said. Meanwhile, administration officials said that the new grass-roots network would amplify public health information and pro-vaccine messages, with the vice president sharing stories of why more personalized communication about the vaccines is needed. “Yesterday, I actually convened a group of faith leaders from around the country and they were very clear: They said, look, sometimes people just need basic infor- mation, you know?” Harris said. “You’re asking people to take a shot in the arm, they need to know what’s going on. They need to know things like, what’s in the vaccine? How does it work?” Officials from the Black Coalition Against Covid-19, U.S. Chamber of Com- merce, American Farm Bureau Federa- tion, Faith & Community Empowerment and other groups participating in the network described how they’ve been reaching out to their members and vowed to ramp up their efforts. “We’re ready to work with all of you to pull through this pandemic together,” said Mary Kay Henry, the leader of the Service Employees International Union, one of the coalition’s members. Members of the public can also volun- teer for the effort by registering with HHS. - TheWashington Post Virtual kickoff of the COVID-19 Community Corps—a nationwide grassroots network of local trusted voices to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. Photo:Twitter@Surgeon_General A large vaccination site is shown as people with preexisting health conditions are granted access to a vaccination during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Inglewood, California, U.S., March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo By Dan Diamond “You are the people that folks on the ground know and rely on and have a history with.” “And when people are then making the decision to get vaccinated, they’re going to look to you.” - Vice President Kamala Harris Extracts from speech by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy April 1, 2021, at the virtual launch of the grassroots campaign to boost Covid-19 vaccines: “We are here today because all of you have agreed to be founding mem- bers of the COVID-19 Community Corps – a nationwide, grassroots net- work of leaders who are stepping up to protect your communities. Together, our goal is to help our communities get vaccinated and by doing so to stop the spread of the virus. Even though nearly 100 million Americans have already received at least one shot, there are still millions of people who are not protected against the virus. But your leadership has the power to change that. Collectively, you can reach millions of people with the facts about COVID and the COVID vaccine. Hearing the facts from trusted sources is what will help people make good decisions about their health. That’s why your involvement will save lives. It’s why we are so grateful to you for being a Com- munity Corps leader.”