Lucinda Bazile, deputy director of Lifelong Medical Care, gets vaccinated for COVID-19 at a Lifelong clinic on February 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Lifelong Medical Care)

The state’s Department of Public Health has launched an advertising campaign intended to encourage the Black and African American communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The campaign is part of the state’s “Let’s Get to ImmUnity” public education effort to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

The state is spending some $40 million in public outreach to preach the vaccines’ virtue via radio, print, social media, television and billboard ads.

One ad targeting Black communities includes Darius, an East Palo Alto photographer, expressing concern about the vaccines’ safety.

California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who is Black, responds to Darius by noting that she got vaccinated and ensured her parents also received shots after examining the data showing that the vaccines were found safe in clinical trials.

“I think people respond more to what we do than what we say,” Burke Harris said in the ad.
State public health officials also plan to engage with Black communities across the state via small business and community leaders that primarily serve Black and African American residents.

The community engagement effort will begin in Oakland, according to the California Department of Public Health.

“Data shows that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and African American communities in terms of severity, mortality, and economics. These communities are also being vaccinated at disproportionately low rates,” CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said. “We designed this campaign to speak to the understandable, culturally-specific concerns and questions surrounding the vaccine of Black and African American communities.”

The state is expected to open vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and over on April 15.

The CDPH’s ad with Darius and Burke Harris can be found at