Illinois is spending $10 million on communities hardest hit by COVUD-19 to encourage people to be vaccinated.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the campaign will feature people who have been personally ipacted by COVUD-19. They will share their stories and encourage viewers and readers to get vaccinated.
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.
• 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.”
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.”
• 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.
“This campaign builds on Illinois’ existing messaging which has used data to inform how to get outcomes that emphasize equity,” Gov. Pritzker said. “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.”
The campaign will reach out to those speaking English and Spanish through a variety of media including cable, broadcast TV, radio, streaming audio, billboards, social media and print.
Illinois Department of Public Health's director further explained the reason for the campaign.
“I empathize with the Illinoisans who are unsure about whether to take the vaccine, and we’re launching this campaign to speak directly to them,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “I encourage everyone to do your research and listen to the personal stories of real Illinoisans who believe in the vaccine. As a physician myself, I got my shot because I know vaccines work. They have saved millions of lives. And by making the choice to get vaccinated yourself, you can protect yourself from this devastating virus and start getting back to normal.”
There are many residents who have been classified as in "the moveable middle," those who want to protect their health but are hesitant about using vaccines. According to research conducted by Civis Analytics, approximately 46 percent of Illinoisans are in this group. Many are in the 18-34 years old age group. Many are also women, lower-income indviduals and blacks, according to a news release from the governor's office.
The peoplle featured in the campaign ads are public health experts and residents who have had COVID-19 themselves.
The campaign is part of the state's larger All in Illinois effort.