White House taps local business, faith leaders to promote COVID-19 vaccinations

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The Biden administration announced Thursday 100 million Americans have now had at least one dose of the COVID-19 shot.

This comes as the White House launched its latest strategy to combat vaccine hesitancy across the country.

“The vaccine is safe, and it will save lives,” Vice President Kamala Harris told members of the newly-formed COVID-19 Community Corps during a virtual meeting.

That’s the message Harris is asking the hundreds of business, faith and union leaders to help her spread across the country.

“We want every adult in the United States to sign up and get vaccinated when they can, ” Harris said.

The U.S. will have enough vaccine supply for all adults by the end of May. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said these community leaders can encourage the hesitant to get in line.

“Hearing the facts from trusted sources is what will help people make good decisions about their health,” Murthy said.

The corps members gave examples of what efforts have been working: companies offering paid sick leave, farmers holding vaccination drives on their land, and essential workers urging others to get the shot.

“The health of our nation depends on how we protect one another regardless of the color of our skin, our ethnicity or income,” said Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union.

Harris said the administration is investing the bulk of its time and resources into this group to particularly dispel mistrust and misinformation among minority communities.

“We see April as a critical month as a flat-out race to the finish line,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, the co-founder of the Black Coalition Against Covid.

Tuckson said celebrities like athletes and musicians will help outreach among  younger populations.

“Who need to receive science based and relative information from black medical experts that are filtered through engagements with the people they pay attention to,” he said.

Hyepin Im, the founder and president/CEO of Faith and Community Empowerment, said the Asian community will be more likely to take the shot if it’s discussed as a solution, not a problem.

“One of the doctors recently said in a press conference they are treating us like the virus when we’re treating the virus,” Im said.

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, but the nation’s top health experts estimate at least 70 percent is needed to reach herd immunity.

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