Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SD), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced last week a measure they said is designed to address funding for a COVID-19 vaccine public advocacy campaign.
The bill would fund a science-driven public advocacy campaign, ensuring when an effective COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Americans are ready to receive it.
The public awareness campaign on COVID19 vaccine information would be via the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grants would be provided to entities to start developing campaigns targeting all Americans would begin no later than 30 days after a vaccine is authorized.
“A science-driven public advocacy campaign can play an important role in increasing public confidence in safe and effective vaccines,” Portman said. “Once vaccines are approved by the FDA and are made widely available, wide-scale vaccinations will make Ohioans and all Americans safer. When this happens, people will feel more comfortable returning to the workplace, retail establishments, restaurants, places of worship, and schools, as well as gathering with family and friends.”
The lawmakers cited polling results indicating that just over half of Americans are willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine when authorized and made available to the public.
“Trust in the COVID-19 vaccine’s safety and efficacy is especially critical to overcome challenges in getting the vaccine to Americans, especially in those communities hit hardest by the pandemic,” Cardin said. “Creating targeted vaccine awareness campaigns, which are reflective of each community and disseminated by trusted individuals, will help to ensure the success of the billions of dollars invested by the public to quell the spread of COVID-19.”