A broad coalition of local government, non-profit, health care, public health and community organizations is launching a comprehensive multi-media and grassroots campaign designed to help empower local residents to make informed choices when it comes to getting vaccinated.

The data-driven campaign will especially target residents of Milwaukee County who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and are undecided about receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. It will be in market on Monday April 12 and continue into summer, supported by ongoing grassroots community mobilization work that will significantly expand in the next two weeks.

“Getting vaccinated is a personal choice – our intent is to make sure it’s also an informed choice,” said Mara Lord, chair of the Milwaukee area vaccine communications and community mobilization efforts. “This campaign recognizes the importance of hearing authentic, relatable stories from local members of the community – from schoolteachers to retired veterans, healthcare workers, clergy, small business owners and more – to both honor their unique perspectives and show how getting vaccinated is a way to express personal strength and commitment, so that we can all get back to the people, places and things we love.”

The first phase of the multi-media ad campaign, dubbed “Authentic Voices,” includes TV, radio, digital outdoor billboard, online digital and social media advertising featuring diverse members of the Milwaukee community.

Beyond the visible advertising push, organizers are also significantly increasing community mobilization efforts to reach people where they are and share vaccine information in an authentic and personal manner. More than 200 individuals will be trained to engage in door-to-door canvasing, with a particular emphasis on 15 ZIP codes identified as having the highest vulnerability in the Milwaukee area based on guidance from the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index. The grassroots efforts also include outreach to community-based organizations, faith-based leaders and other community leaders to reach networks of individuals.

“As we conducted focus groups with members of Milwaukee communities to inform the approach and messaging for this campaign, the resounding feedback was that people want clear information, and they want to hear from their neighbors, elders and people they trust,” said Lorraine Lathen, president and CEO of Jump at the Sun Consultants. “The stories this campaign elevates and the voices it features are straight out of our neighborhoods and reflect the diversity of our community.”

The multi-media campaign was led by Milwaukee-based creative agency Hanson Dodge, which generously donated its time and talents to support this effort. Production efforts engaged and equitably paid a variety of local minority- and women-owned vendors including Amanda Evans Photography, Samer Ghani Photography and Tyshun Wardlaw Productions. INPOWER designed and built the website, healthyMKE.com, and will continue production efforts to capture stories from Milwaukeeans on why they chose to get vaccinated and what they are excited to get back to doing after being fully vaccinated. Vendors engaged in production include Karen Oliva Photography, PWR FWD Media, and Ryan Reeve Productions.

Combined, Milwaukee-area campaign and community mobilization efforts represent a more than $900,000 investment to build vaccine confidence in the Milwaukee area. Funding and in-kind support for this effort comes from a variety of civic and community partners, including Bader Philanthropies, City of Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Hanson Dodge, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, United Way, VISIT Milwaukee and Zilber Family Foundation, and fundraising efforts continue

The Milwaukee Area Vaccine Communications and Community Mobilization effort was formed in December 2020, charged by the Milwaukee Unified Emergency Operations Center (UEOC) COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinating Committee. The UEOC facilitates efforts among local government, fire, EMS, law enforcement, public health, health care, academia, the business community and others to coordinate and elevate a unified multi-sector public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing affected vulnerable populations.

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