MILWAUKEE — A coalition made up of local government, non-profit, healthcare and community organizations is launching a $900,000 comprehensive multi-media and grassroots campaign to build COVID vaccine confidence throughout the Milwaukee area.
Beginning Monday, April 12, and continuing through the summer, the data-driven campaign will target residents in Milwaukee County who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice – our intent is to make sure it’s also an informed choice,” said Mara Lord, chair of the Milwaukee area vaccine communications and community mobilization efforts. “This campaign recognizes the importance of hearing authentic, relatable stories from local members of the community – from schoolteachers to retired veterans, healthcare workers, clergy, small business owners and more – to both honor their unique perspectives and show how getting vaccinated is a way to express personal strength and commitment, so that we can all get back to the people, places and things we love."
Lord said there are many reasons community members expressed hesitancy, such as mistrust.
"Individuals are expressing that they are hesitant to get the vaccine, they are talking about concern about side effects of the vaccine," Lord said.
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The first phase of the campaign, dubbed "authentic Voices," will include TV, radio and digital billboards as well as social media advertising featuring diverse faces from the Milwaukee community.
Funding for the $900,000 investment comes from a variety of community partners, including Bader Philanthropies, City of Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Hanson Dodge, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, United Way, VISIT Milwaukee and Zilber Family Foundation.
The United Community Center near the south side will be a part of this campaign. They have received $100,000 to hit the ground running to get information to residents where they are.
United Community Center Health Research Program Director AL Castro said combining forces within the community will help get vaccine confidence up in black and brown communities.
"People in our community will listen to somebody who looks like them and talks like who's in the community with them," Castro said.
Both lord and Castro hope by meeting people where they are we can put COVID-19 behind us.
The public can see the campaign ads starting Monday at http://healthymke.com/.