Project Better Together launches unique vaccination campaign
Johnson County’s Better Together Project seeks to meet the 80% requirement for the county to achieve herd immunity and make a smooth transition out of the pandemic.
Project Better Together, a coalition of Johnson County business and development groups, has launched a campaign encouraging residents of Johnson County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The group aims to have 80 percent of the county’s adult population fully immunized by fall, to meet herd immunity requirements.
Johnson County Community Health Director Sam Jarvis said about 65% of eligible Johnson County residents had either been fully vaccinated or had started a two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine on April 30.
Better Together Project President Mark Nolte said the group is working closely with Johnson County Public Health and the University of Iowa College of Public Health on this initiative, and the group is looking to use creative campaign strategies and incentive programs to encourage vaccinations.
“Over the next couple of months we’re just going to do whatever we can to get people who might be a little hesitant to do it,” Nolte said. “Because our goal, as you know, is 80% for Johnson County, we want to show leadership at the state level. If we can get to that level, we can have a very normal drop on campus, we can reopen Kinnick Stadium – all of those things. So I think everyone knows why we are doing this, and now it’s just a matter of executing it.
Nolte said he spoke with IU hospitals and clinics family doctor Rick Dobyns in August 2020 when Dobyns predicted the current situation with vaccines – that supply exceeds demand in most areas of the state.
“Dobyns said there will come a time when vaccines are quite plentiful, and that there will come a time when we will have to step up and make sure we get over the reluctance and get that herd immunity,” Nolte said.
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Daniel Wasta, 28, said he took part in the vaccination campaign to manage public awareness.
Wasta has worked on several Democratic campaigns in the past, including as the Iowa political director for Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 campaign in the Iowa caucuses. He was also the political director of Iowa for President Joe Biden’s 2020 general election campaign.
“As we see a shift from a supply issue to a demand issue over the past few weeks, it looks like it kind of necessitated the need for a bigger public campaign to reach the next wave of people we want to do. of course I get the vaccine, ”Wasta said.
Wasta said officials were looking for creative and unique ways to manage vaccine confidence, which is why he believes he was brought in to help in this campaign.
“They wanted to add someone with a bit of campaigning experience, who might be able to look at the problem a little differently and see if there was any organizational efforts we could do,” he said. he says, “… or things that have worked in the past on political campaigns to try to reach more people who haven’t been vaccinated and explain why it’s that important.
Wasta said he was responsible for finding distinctive ways to reach all members of the public to encourage them to receive their vaccine, if they haven’t already.
Through social media posts, direct mail, phone calls, recruiting community links, and welcoming all possible outreach ideas, Wasta said it comes in handy to brainstorm ideas. on how to best communicate with residents of Johnson County.
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“Part of that position is just to identify things we could do better and maybe identify influencers within communities who can help us get the word out,” Wasta said. “We’re trying to identify the best forms of outreach, so there’s definitely going to be a social media campaign, but also – how are we going to communicate in the rural areas of the county?”
Jarvis said that, through a relationship between the Johnson County Public Health Department’s Better Together Project and other community entities, the groups can work towards a common goal: to get through the pandemic.
“It’s just a wonderful partnership and a wonderful ability to work with so many other people, to put all these ideas on the table and really work, how can we provide the best and most up to date information so that people can make the best informed choice, and hopefully that is to get vaccinated, ”Jarvis said.
Jarvis said that by involving a wide range of public influences to encourage vaccinations within the community, he believes it will help Johnson County residents who are still hesitant to get vaccinated.
“Sometimes it helps to hear from someone else in your area. Some people, to be frank, don’t care what the Department of Public Health says, ”he said. “It’s very fair, it doesn’t hurt our feelings, we recognize that. But we still want to do our best to attract and control, and certainly do our best to provide the information so that people feel comfortable getting vaccinated.