Launched calmly to achieve its COVID-19 vaccination goal, the Biden administration sends A-list officials across the country, designing ads for niche markets and recruiting community organizers to convince people don’t get vaccinated to shoot them.
The strategy is based on a political campaign, which includes restricted data to identify groups that can be won.
But the message is about public health, not ideology. The focus is on group health officials calling the “mobile medium”: some 55 million unvaccinated adults considered persuasive, many of them under the age of 30.
“We will not only do mass vaccination sites,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services. “It’s door-to-door. They’re mobile clinics. We’re doing vaccinations at church, at the PTA meeting, at the hairdresser’s, at the grocery store.”
Officials have taken advantage of a compelling new point of conversation, courtesy of the coronavirus. The powerful delta variant what has ravaged India extends here. Now, representing about 1 in 5 genetically decoded virus samples in the United States, the most transmissible mutation has been consolidated in the states of Mountain West and the heart. Many of those infected are young and unvaccinated.
The White House has given its main names to the vaccine.
President Joe Biden visited a mobile vaccination site in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday. Earlier in the day, First Lady Jill Biden took the hand of a woman at a vaccination site in Kissimmee, Florida.
Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, has amassed thousands of miles of frequent travelers, visiting at least 18 or 19 states by his earl.
The administration has also recruited celebrities and athletes, including country music star Brad Paisley and the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. It has teamed up with Twitch and Riot Games to reach out to online players and with Panera and Chipotle to offer free food to those who get a chance.
The message, as Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said, “If you are vaccinated, you are protected. If you don’t, the threat of variants is real and growing.”
It is unclear to what extent persuasion levers work. Vaccination rates have fallen below one million a day and there is still no sign of investment. The administration has acknowledged that it will not meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults before July 4th.
At present, some 170 million American adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, representing about two-thirds of those over 18 years of age. An Associated Press analysis suggests this Biden’s self-imposed goal current vaccination rates cannot be reached until the end of July.
HHS analysts have developed a rough outline of those in the mobile center. They are usually younger, mostly 18 to 29 years old. Most have no university education and independent politicians predominate. Black and Latino adults are more likely to fall into this category than people from other backgrounds.
It can be a difficult sale. After Jill Biden’s visit to Mississippi earlier in the week, Gulf Coast resident Sherie Bardwell was not impressed. He said Biden’s comment that “vaccines may seem like a miracle, but no faith is required,” sounded like an excavation to people with Christian beliefs.
“He said traits are miracles that don’t require faith. The Bible says you only have to live by faith,” said Bardwell, who followed the news of the first lady’s visit. Bardwell said both she and her husband had COVID-19 and she was hospitalized.
“My thoughts are, if you’ve already had the coronavirus, why do you need the vaccine?” Bardwell asked. “If the vaccine was the ‘miracle,’ why are you still at risk of getting the virus after getting the shot? To me, it doesn’t make sense.” Doctors advise recovered patients to be vaccinated to maintain protection.
In private, some White House officials worry that the persuasive universe will shrink.
Early success with vaccination has paradoxically made things difficult. Now that cases and deaths have dropped to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic, officials say it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince Americans of the urgency of getting a shot, especially from younger people who already knew they had a low risk of serious complications.
Biden officials say they recognize that it will take more than celebrity presentations to close the deal. In Knoxville, Tennessee, a retired hospice and home care administrator has become a voluntary COVID-19 response organizer in the black community. Cynthia Finch is one of many people across the country federal health officials they have become “trusted messengers.”
Finch christened his local vaccine strategy as “3 V”. She started with what she calls “vaccine partners,” such as local hospitals and universities, to create a framework. She then organized volunteers to make shots working with professional groups, including a black nursing sister. Finally, he contacted pastors and community organizations to offer places where people could come and get their vaccines. Finch estimates that these efforts have resulted in the total vaccination of thousands of people.
She said she is used to dealing with skepticism, especially given the history of poor care in minority communities and the use of black patients in medical experiments without their consent. Try to listen carefully to objections and concerns and respond with factual information on the topic.
“When you start telling them things they can relate to, it calms them down,” he said.
His own motivation is personal. Finch said a close friend lost two siblings unlike COVID-19, and that motivates her to keep working. “People are still dying,” he said.
While they applaud the Biden administration’s efforts to vaccinate Americans, some Public health experts say there are limits to what persuasion can achieve.
The administration has ruled out vaccine passports that could be turned into a ticket for benefits such as international travel. But Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner, said a federal verification system that people could use to prove their vaccination status could still be an incentive.
“Setting a 70% aspiration target was the right target for the Biden administration, but I wish they hadn’t been so hesitant about vaccination requirements,” he said.
“We will be in a position where most of the country will be vaccinated,” Wen said. “Why should they be held hostage by a minority of the population, which potentially endangers the rest?”
Administration officials show no signs of belching in their position. “The federal government has no plans to create a database of vaccinated people,” Murthy said.
© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Citation: As the variant increases, the vaccine plan is aimed at “mobile medium” (2021, June 27) retrieved June 27, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06- variant-vaccine-movable-middle.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair treatment for the purposes of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. Content is provided for informational purposes only.