Do we need a “National COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day"?

A Republican lawmaker has an idea to promote COVID-19 vaccinations – how about a federal holiday? Rep. John Katko of New York introduced a resolution last week that calls on Joe Biden to create a “National COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day”.

The resolution would create a one-time federal holiday to galvanize promotion of vaccine distribution and to acknowledge the success of Operation Warp Speed. Katko wants Biden to take out his trusty pen and sign an executive action making such a proclamation. Any day can be designated a federal holiday by federal law, executive order, or presidential proclamation.

Federal holidays are costly and create a loss of productivity. Non-essential federal government offices are closed, stock market trading is usually suspended, and every federal government employee is paid for the holiday. Conservatives are not known as cheerleaders for establishing new federal holidays. This one, though, is only a one-time thing. Katko seems to think a federal holiday would get out the word on the importance of vaccinations and encourage people to take one when they can. Two Democrats have co-sponsored the resolution.

“The fact that our nation has developed and started distributing several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in under a year is nothing short of extraordinary,” Katko, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement.

“We must encourage more Americans to get vaccinated while continuing to collaborate with federal, state, and local leaders to ensure rapid and equitable distribution. Americans can rest assured that there is an end in sight, and together, we will emerge from this pandemic stronger than before,” he said.

Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey have co-sponsored the measure.

Is anyone not aware that there are COVID-19 vaccines now? In many areas, the push is on to get more of the general public vaccinated and one way is to open them up to younger people. As of Monday, for example, Texas began vaccinating anyone 50 years and older. Some states have opened it up for anyone over the age of 16. According to the CDC, as of today, more than 110 million COVID-19 doses have been administered nationwide with nearly 12 percent of the total population fully vaccinated. That percentage is still small but it is growing at a fast clip. Biden has directed that all adults be eligible for a vaccine by May 1. That doesn’t mean every adult will be vaccinated by May 1, just that every adult will be eligible for one. It is unlikely that there will be enough vaccinations for every adult until the end of May.

Ad campaigns are springing up to promote awareness and speak to the safety of vaccinations. All of the former presidents, except Trump, came together to release a public service announcement about vaccinations. The former presidents all volunteered to take the jab on camera. Lots of politicians and public officials have done that to reassure everyone of the safety of the vaccines. A new awareness campaign has been announced titled ‘Call to Arms’. Think Rosie the Riveter. A coalition of ad agencies and veterans groups have come together to urge Americans to get vaccinated.

As the Covid-19 crisis continues, even as the vaccines rollout, the advertising industry has an inherent duty to support fact-based journalism and to ensure continued access to accurate and timely information,” says Ryanne Laredo, Chief Customer Officer at Amobee and Co-Founder of AdTechCares. “It’s an honor for AdTechCares to work with the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination and their renowned veterans organizations and we’re confident we’ll replicate the success of our initial Covid-19 PSA campaign with a renewed focus on driving the public to credible vaccine information with the goal of keeping humanity well.”

“Veterans are among one of the most trusted populations in the United States, and through the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination we are able to bring together these leading veterans organizations to build trust for the nationwide vaccination effort,” says Lorey Zlotnick, Chief Marketing Officer at Team Rubicon and founding member of the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination. “We are proud to launch a campaign that is visually representative of the communities that we serve and reaffirms the VCV’s priority and commitment to equitable vaccine distribution. We invite you to ‘roll up your sleeves’ and help us defeat this virus.”

The largest group of holdouts so far are reported to be conservative men. This campaign makes sense to encourage veterans to get a vaccination and to assure conservative men that the vaccination is the thing to do to help defeat COVID-19. The ads will run on digital platforms and in New York’s Times Square. The images are based on the iconic “We Can Do It!” poster of Rosie the Riveter.

Presidents don’t sign off on congressional resolutions, so Biden would have to create and sign an executive order creating the one-time holiday. Will Biden sign an EO requested by a Republican? Though he campaigned on his ability to work with everyone and not see red or blue America, but the United States of America, we know that was all malarkey. He and the Democrats in Congress rammed through a $1.7T boondoggle masquerading as a COVID relief package though only 9% of the bill is coronavirus-related. That was done on a party-line vote. We know he likes to govern by signing executive orders and actions to go around Congress so he might consider it. The cost of a one-time federal holiday surely wouldn’t bother big-spending Biden.