A $50 million ad blitz will try to turn Covid-19 vaccine skeptics into believers.
With coronavirus cases on the rise, a marketing push is underway to persuade skeptical Americans to immunize themselves once vaccines are ready.
The federal government, which has sent mixed messages about a pandemic that has caused more than 250,000 deaths nationwide, is not leading the charge. Instead, the private sector is backing a planned $50 million campaign.
The Ad Council, a nonprofit advertising group, led a similar effort in the 1950s, when it urged Americans to get vaccinated against polio. The White House has collaborated with the Ad Council on previous public health efforts, but it is not currently involved in this one.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has blamed President Trump for causing anxiety about the safety of potential immunization efforts. Anti-vaccine sentiment has been growing for decades, driven in part by a backlash against pharmaceutical companies.
Fifty-eight percent of American adults said they were willing to take a coronavirus vaccine, according to a Gallup poll conducted between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1. Another poll, conducted last month by Ipsos and the World Economic Forum, found that 85 percent of Chinese adults, 79 percent of British adults and 76 percent of Canadian adults plan to be vaccinated, compared to 64 percent of Americans.
The Ad Council has joined with a coalition of experts known as the Covid Collaborative, which concluded through its own survey that only one-third of Americans plan to get vaccinated.
Research by the Covid Collaborative also suggests that less than 20 percent of Black Americans believe that a vaccine will be safe or effective. Many respondents said they had little faith in the government’s ability to look after their interests or cited distrust stemming from past ethics violations, like the infamous Tuskegee study, which tracked Black men infected with syphilis but did not treat them.
In other developments around the country:
Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined an approach — but not a timeline — for reopening New York City’s public schools, which shifted fully to remote learning last week after the city’s seven-day average positive test rate hit 3 percent. At a news conference on Monday, the mayor said the city would focus first on reopening schools for students with disabilities, then early childhood education programs and elementary schools. Mr. de Blasio also said that the city’s seven-day average positive test rate was at 3.06 percent.
The Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny canceled an in-person performance at the American Music Awards on Sunday night after he tested positive for the coronavirus, his publicist announced on Monday. He had appeared virtually at the ceremony to present an award and accept two of his own, for favorite male Latin artist and favorite Latin album for “YHLQMDLG.”
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