WASHINGTON, June 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- An ambitious and first of its kind effort to increase vaccine usage among rural Americans against COVID-19 was announced today that draws from all sectors of small-town America in a coordinated push. Representing one of the largest public vaccine education efforts in rural America, the COVID Collaborative, Health Action Alliance, Ad Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, Center for Rural Strategies, Rural America Chamber of Commerce, National League of Cities, the Daily Yonder, National Rural Health Association, and the Helmsley Charitable Trust are joining forces to roll out the concentrated education effort.
The initiative comes as the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states and local governments prioritize the next 30 days to reach a national goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one vaccine dose by Independence Day. The "Month of Action" will be supported by these efforts to reach rural Americans.
While 56% of rural residents report having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, rural America still lags the rest of the country in the proportion of eligible residents vaccinated, according to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
A key goal is to support rural community leaders and businesses as they engage with their residents in vaccine conversations. The effort includes the development of a resource library for rural vaccine uptake information, led by the National Rural Health Association, including conversation starter resources, and public service announcements developed in partnership with the Ad Council. These new resources will help rural employers, small business owners and public sector employers share vaccine facts and improve access to vaccinations for employees and their families.
The resources will be announced today at a National Rural Business Summit on COVID-19 vaccines, focused on the unique needs and opportunities in rural areas and small cities to drive vaccination rates. The event will feature keynote remarks from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, White House Vaccinations Coordinator Dr. Bachara Choucair and former Governor and U.S. Senator Dirk Kempthorne, Co-Chair of the COVID Collaborative. The event will be produced by Health Action Alliance, a joint initiative of the Ad Council, the Business Roundtable, the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—in partnership with Meteorite.
Also to be announced is a new partnership with Small Business Majority to expand outreach to and education for small business owners across the rural south and midwest, led by the Health Action Alliance and COVID Collaborative. And, in partnership with The Daily Yonder, the Health Action Alliance will launch today a new reporting partnership to expand on-the-ground coverage of COVID-19 and vaccines, with perspectives from rural businesses.
Rural America is not homogenous, and these organizations have the diverse and necessary expertise to develop and disseminate the right messages to rural communities to move the needle on vaccination rates. Combined efforts aim to reach audiences through the healthcare and medical community, the faith-based community, the agricultural community, and the business community.
This overall strategic work is being supported by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The six-month grant from Helmsley's Rural Healthcare Program, made to COVID Collaborative as a key convener of these efforts, will work toward putting the U.S. on a path to full vaccination for COVID-19 by developing targeted messaging to increase vaccine education, public trust and enthusiasm for vaccinations in areas where challenges remain.
"Helmsley is proud to support the COVID Collaborative as it undertakes this critically important initiative," said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley Trustee. "We share a common goal to improve the health outcomes of families who live in rural America, especially during this challenging time."
About the COVID Collaborative
COVID Collaborative is a national assembly of experts, leaders and institutions in health, education and the economy and associations representing the diversity of the country to turn the tide on the pandemic by supporting federal, state and local COVID-19 response efforts. To learn more, visit www.CovidCollaborative.us, and follow the COVID Collaborative on Twitter and LinkedIn.
"We're thrilled to help mobilize so many key organizations to ramp up their efforts to reach more Americans in rural areas," said John Bridgeland, CEO of COVID Collaborative. "Our goal is to help Americans in rural areas make informed decisions about the vaccine with quality information from the sources they trust."
About the Health Action Alliance
The Health Action Alliance is a joint initiative of the Ad Council, the Business Roundtable, the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—in partnership with Meteorite. Together, we work to strengthen and accelerate the business community's response to COVID-19, advance health equity and help rebuild public health. Learn more at healthaction.org.
"In the fight against COVID-19, the path to stronger immunity for all Americans runs right through rural communities. Throughout the pandemic, rural business and agricultural leaders have been trusted voices and key partners in the response – sharing facts, prioritizing safety and improving health access across many communities," said Stephen Massey, Managing Director of the Health Action Alliance.
About the National Rural Health Association
The National Rural Health Association is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 21,000 members. The association's mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research.
"This is an important time for rural Americans to come together to keep our towns safe and open for business." said Alan Morgan, CEO, The National Rural Health Association.
About the Center for Rural Strategies, Rural Assembly and Daily Yonder
Center for Rural Strategies seeks to improve economic and social conditions for communities in the countryside and around the world through the creative and innovative use of media and communications. Its Rural Assembly, a movement of rural people and organizations from all fifty states, works at local, regional, and national levels to build more opportunity and better policy for rural communities across the country. It also publishes the Daily Yonder, a digital news platform that covers rural news for a national audience of rural residents, advocates, policymakers, and journalists.
"As people across rural America's towns, small cities and Tribal Nations make their decisions about vaccination, having accurate information and access to vaccines is vital," says Whitney Kimball Coe, director of national programs at the Center for Rural Strategies. "We're proud to share the stories of rural business owners and other leaders who are supporting employees and community members, and to offer Health Action Alliance resources to support dialogue in the workplace and beyond."
About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America's cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions.
"Local elected officials still remain the most trusted level of government and many mayors and council members take this trust seriously and have been communicating honestly and transparently with their residents about the importance of vaccination. NLC is proud to provide the resources and information that local leaders need to help their communities and their workforces recover and rebuild," said NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony.
About the American Farm Bureau Federation
The American Farm Bureau Federation is working with Farm Bureau organizations in the 50 states and Puerto Rico to connect farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans with reliable and trusted information about COVID-19 precautions, the safety of vaccinations and where to get them.
"I have been so encouraged by how our state and county Farm Bureaus have stepped up to help provide answers and resources to address the questions and concerns shared by many throughout the pandemic. Farmers and ranchers are again demonstrating that they are community leaders who care about the health and safety of their employees," said Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation.
About The Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley's Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $500 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. Learn more at helmsleytrust.org.
About the Rural America Chamber of Commerce
The Rural America Chamber of Commerce is a national, member-based organization that is committed to supporting, promoting, and empowering entrepreneurs who are based in rural communities throughout the USA. The Chamber achieves its mission via direct member services and advocacy rooted in both public policy and social policy.
About the Ad Council
The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council's communities on Facebook and Twitter.
CONTACT: Angela Landers, 314-982-6225, [email protected]
SOURCE COVID Collaborative