“Our research shows that individual health care professionals are the most trusted voices for people deciding whether to get vaccinated,” said DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt in a news release.
The department says that the campaign is “geared toward specific groups that research shows tend to be less likely to get vaccinated.”
DSHS is beginning the campaign with a digital advertisement with Farris Blount, a Houston-based doctor, “talking to fellow Black Texans about the importance of getting vaccinated.”
“It’s important to know your history, but you shouldn’t let your history keep you from moving forward,” says Blount in the ad.
“Over the coming weeks we will continue to share messages encouraging various communities to get vaccinated,” said Hellerstedt. “We are also relying on trusted voices within those communities to speak up and let their neighbors know that the available COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to end the pandemic and restore normalcy.”
In addition to the digital ads, DSHS said that this week the department would hold “the first of 22 parking lot pop-up events around Texas.”
“These 4-hour events, hosted in Walmart parking lots through mid-May, will feature a 16-foot video wall with facts about COVID-19 vaccines. The first three events will be Thursday in Austin, Friday in Houston, and Saturday in Beaumont,” stated the department.
Douglas Loveday, a DSHS press officer, told The Texan that, “Federal coronavirus relief funds will pay for this campaign.”
According to the department’s vaccination dashboard for Texas, 16 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, including for 6.5 million who have received all necessary doses.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.