Hall of Fame, Centene Teaming Up to Tackle Concerns Over COVID-19 Vaccinations

Several members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame family are partnering with Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) to increase education and awareness around COVID-19 vaccines through a series of new 15-, 30- and 60-second public service announcements (PSAs), with a particular focus on communities of color. The PSAs will air nationally on television networks and over digital platforms beginning today.

Delivering the message that COVID-19 vaccines protect not only the recipient but also their friends and families will be Hall of Famers ANTHONY MUÑOZ (in both English and Spanish), DARRELL GREEN, AENEAS WILLIAMS and DREW PEARSON; along with Lisa Salters, a Hall of Fame Selector and TV broadcaster; and friends of the Hall Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympic gold medal winner and coach of the 2017 national champion University of South Carolina women’s basketball team; and Iman McFarland, Chief Operating Officer for 21st Century Expo Group and an ambassador for the Hall’s and Centene’s joint “Strong Youth Strong Communities” programming.

Each 30-second message can be previewed and downloaded here: Anthony Muñoz (English), Anthony Muñoz (Spanish), Darrell Green, Aeneas Williams, Drew Pearson, Lisa Salters, Dawn Staley, Iman McFarland. The campaign’s 15- and 60-second versions can be found here.

Public health officials have stated that widespread adoption of the vaccine will be necessary to stop the spread of the virus. The vaccines are safe and have been proven highly effective, especially at preventing severe illness and hospitalization related to COVID-19, which has affected communities of color at a disproportionately higher rate.

To achieve “herd immunity,” roughly 80% of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated, health officials have said. Multiple surveys have indicated high rates of “vaccine hesitancy” within the African American community and other communities of color, however, and that is impacting immunization rates. Recent data show Blacks make up only 6% of those who had been vaccinated despite constituting 13% of the population and accounting for 15% of all COVID-19 deaths.

“Uncertainty around the COVID-19 vaccine could lead some people to delay getting the shot, and that could have grave consequences for their health and the health of their families,” said Dr. Ken Yamaguchi, Chief Medical Officer for Centene. “Through this campaign, we want to empower people to actively contribute to their health and well-being by informing them about the benefits of the vaccine.”

Centene’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Neidorff, expressed a similar sentiment during an interview with St. Louis-based radio station, KMOX. “What the world needs right now are role models,” he said. “And right now with the pandemic, we need them more than ever.”

The PSA campaign is designed to build confidence around the vaccine and encourage people to get vaccinated. The messaging not only focuses on the vaccine as a means of protecting oneself, but also to stop the spread of the virus to family and friends, those who “Count on You.” In the PSAs, Muñoz, Green, Williams, Pearson, Salter, Staley and McFarland talk about the people in their lives who are counting on them to get the vaccine to stay healthy. 

“As we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re a team and we need to work together to stop the virus from spreading,” said David Baker, President & CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We recognize there are a lot of questions out there about the vaccine, so we want to make sure we’re reaching as many people as possible. We thank Anthony, Darrell, Aeneas, Drew, Lisa, Dawn and Iman for encouraging everyone to get vaccinated for the sake of the people counting on them.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is Centene’s Official Youth Wellness Partner. Through the “Strong Youth Strong Communities” program over the past four years, Hall of Famers have discussed such important issues with youth as mental health, suicide and bullying. During the COVID-19 pandemic, “virtual” Youth Summits have been held in several states on these topics. For its work on these issues, the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the recipient of the 2019 Booker T. Washington award from the National Minority Quality Forum for its commitment to advancing health equity.

For more information about COVID-19 and available vaccines, visit the CDC website.