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Illinois launches $10 million vaccine awareness campaign

(WSIL) — As more Illinoisans become eligible for the vaccine and the supply from the federal government continues to grow, Governor JB Pritzker launched a new public awareness campaign directed especially to residents who are reluctant to get the vaccine.

The public awareness campaign features Illinoisans who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 and are sharing their stories and belief in the vaccine.  

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The $10 million campaign will reach Illinoisans statewide in both English and Spanish through a variety of traditional and online media channels.

Like other coronavirus-related expenses, costs are reimbursable by the federal government.  

“This campaign builds on Illinois’ existing messaging which has used data to inform how to get outcomes that emphasize equity,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Vaccine hesitancy is real, and misinformation is rampant, especially on social media. So Illinois is acting proactively to share the message: All three of the approved vaccines were 100% effective in trials for stopping hospitalizations and death. After a year of staying socially distant and staying safe, what a relief it will be to get vaccinated so you can be protected from this virus.” 

As a part of the administration’s data-driven and equity-centric pandemic response, the campaign follows the CDC’s Vaccinate with Confidence Strategy of aiming to reach “the moveable middle” — residents who want to protect their health but are hesitant about getting vaccines. 

Watch the first ads here: 

Learn more about the Illinoisans featured in the campaign: 

  • Anthony Adams is a Covid survivor who spent three weeks in the hospital. His worst fear, his mother contracting Covid, is now a reality that he must face head on. “To my Black and brown brothers and sisters, don’t take this lightly. Look into the vaccine,” Adams said. 
  • Erica Lopez lost both of her parents to Covid over the holidays. She’s sharing her story so no one else has to go through what she did. “Covid-19 took my parents. The vaccine means there’s hope to keep families together,” Lopez said. 
  • Bonnie Blue is 68 and has severe asthma, but that didn’t stop her from being one of the first vaccine trial participants in Illinois. She’s sharing her experience so that others, especially in Black and brown communities, will feel comfortable getting the vaccine. “Get the vaccine. Do what you have to do to survive,” Blue said. 
  • Dr. Marina Del Rios is an emergency physician at the University of Illinois Hospital who has been on the frontlines treating Covid patients since the start of the pandemic. “I miss smiles, laughs and facial expressions,” Dr. Del Rios said. “The vaccine will let us celebrate again.”
  • Ericka Looper is a respiratory therapist who works with Covid long-haulers. Her patients, even after getting over the initial effects of the virus, continue to deal with lung problems. “The vaccine will help prevent you from severely contracting Covid,” Looper said. 
  • Julie Sparks is a Covid survivor, caregiver to her 78-year-old mother and contact tracer. She cares deeply for the people she calls at her job. “Consider the vaccine. It’s the only way to get back freedom and have less fear,” Sparks said.
  • Dr. Robert Murphy is an infectious disease physician at Northwestern and is the executive director for the Institute for Global Health. He believes we can end the pandemic if we work together and get vaccinated. “Polio, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella. It’s incredible the diseases we’ve been able to fight with vaccines,” Dr. Murphy said. 
  • Dr. Ngozi Ezike is the director of the Illinois Department of Health. She has heard from countless Illinoisans and believes the vaccine one of the best ways to protect ourselves. “Vaccines work. They have saved millions of lives,” Dr. Ezike said. 
  • The Ross Family: Judd, Shawna, and their 16-year-old son all had Covid at the same time, with their son having the worst case. They’re sharing their story to encourage young people to take the virus seriously. Judd shared: “Getting vaccinated is the only thing that will bring us back to normal.”   

Coronavirus resources

  • Click here for the latest CDC novel coronavirus resources and links.
  • Track the COVID-19 globally using this map tracker here.
  • You can view the latest Illinois COVID-19 numbers here.
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