Science has overcome a formidable hurdle as trucks roll out the first doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. But another looms: overcoming suspicion, mistrust and misinformation so people actually get it. Enter: Celebrities.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said 75-85% of Americans need to get the vaccine to ensure herd immunity and get the country back to normal. But only 60% of Americans say they would get it if it were available today.
We’ve seen advertisers and public health officials partner to get Americans on the bandwagon before, and the Ad Council is leading another effort this time around. When faced with national challenges, they’ve recruited trusted influencers to inspire public confidence. In 1956, for example, a public health official injected Elvis Presley with the polio vaccine before an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in a successful PR move for public health.
So far, Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have committed to getting the vaccine in public, as has Dr. Anthony Fauci.
That’s a great start — but for an unprecedented vaccination campaign, we may need unprecedented star power. While some public health officials are arguing for vaccinating sports icons first, other pundits are pulling for everyone from pop stars to the Queen.