HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and officials from Harris County Public Health announced a new campaign on Thursday that is designed to address vaccine hesitancy and urge residents to take additional action to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Stay Smart, Do Your Part” will highlight the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
“We can’t wait until supply chains catch up in order to tackle vaccine hesitancy, number one because it’s an issue right now and number two the campaign is not going to work overnight,” Hidalgo said.
The campaign focuses on urging residents to take steps beyond wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands to include learning about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, staying home and canceling gatherings. The campaign brand, “Stay Smart, Do Your Part” was chosen to highlight the role that the community plays in helping the region finally recover sustainably from the pandemic and help our economy get moving again.
The current phase of the campaign will focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy, particularly among communities of color in Harris County.
Hidalgo pointed to a recent national survey consisting of minority groups and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that showed almost 40% of respondents would refuse vaccination if offered one Thursday or are undecided about whether they would accept getting a vaccine at some point.
“Each of us who live in Harris County are interconnected and we can only reach herd immunity if those who are still undecided about receiving the COVID-19 take action to protect themselves and their neighbors,” Hidalgo said. “People of color have been hit the hardest by this virus and it is worrisome that research indicates they are also those who are least likely to get vaccinated. Even as we wait for vaccine supply chains to catch up, we must lay the groundwork now to make sure we’re engaging with residents who are hesitant or undecided about the safety and efficacy of vaccines so they can stay smart and do their part.”
The multilingual $1 million advertising push includes a slate of advertising featuring doctors as credible messengers of health information and asking residents to learn about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and to get vaccinated once they are eligible.
Judge Hidalgo’s office told KPRC2 the $1 million will be reimbursed with federal dollars from the CARES Act.