Following President Joe Biden’s announcement of additional efforts to get Americans updated COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the holidays, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) presented a multicultural media briefing that included leaders of the Black Press of America, the National Association of Hispanic Publications, and other minority press.
The briefing took place on the BIPOCXChange, a metaverse solution created by the Multicultural Media & Correspondents Association, a media advocacy organization that seeks to help Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) media increase ownership and control.
The president announced that more than 20 million Americans, including nearly one in five seniors, have already received updated COVID-19 vaccines.
The White House noted that while COVID-19 no longer counts as the disruptive force it previously was, the virus continues to evolve.
Health officials said COVID-19, flu and other respiratory illnesses spread more quickly in the winter as people gather indoors. As the weather gets colder, Americans must take action to stay protected.
“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,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said during the briefing.
“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,” Murthy stated.
He said the updated vaccine is specifically tailored to the dominant variant of COVID that’s currently circulating.
“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,” Murthy asserted.
Dr. Cameron Webb, the senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, implored the BIPOC community that “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,” Webb insisted.
“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.”
During the briefing, HHS announced a new COVID-19 Public Education campaign called “We Can Do This.”
The slogan, translated into Spanish, “Juntos Si Podemos,” is dedicated to increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake by building the public’s confidence in vaccines.
Officials also seek to educate people about the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
They also hope to inform them how and where they can get vaccinated by directing them to www.vaccines.gov.
Advocates noted that health equity was a fundamental value of the COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.
“Our newest ads this week, geared at reaching Black and Latino audiences, highlight the ‘We Can Do This’ Campaign’s commitment to health equity,” Georgeta Dragoiu, a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, said in a statement.
Dragoiu works on the COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.
“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 Dragoiu stated.
Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris administration, the campaign has partnered with more than 1,000 organizations, most of which work with minority or rural communities.
During the BIPOC briefing, officials announced that 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.
“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,” said Dr. José R. Romero, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“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,” Romero asserted.
To view the campaign ads and for more information, visit wecandothis.hhs.gov/