Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield (ABCBS) is launching a statewide health campaign to educate Arkansans on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and to encourage vaccination.
Entitled “Vaccinate in the Natural State,” the project is a collaboration led by ABCBS with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas Council, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Walmartas partners. The campaign will officially kick off in mid-March.
“The health of our communities relies on every eligible Arkansan getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them,” Arkansas Blue Cross president and CEO Curtis Barnett said in a statement. “Vaccinations offer our best path for eliminating the virus, ending the suffering, and starting the process of returning our lives back to some sense of normal. The organizations that have come together to fuel this movement represent best-of-class knowledge coupled with connected networks that can ensure the word gets out that Vaccinate the Natural State can be life-changing for all of us.”
During the campaign, the organizations will focus on business-to-business engagement and hyper-local community engagement.
The business community will be a primary target of the campaign. According to Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce CEO Randy Zook, getting businesses to take the ‘Power Over Pandemic Pledge,’ which commits businesses to joining the Vaccinate in the Natural State movement is critical.
“As we’ve done with many critical issues, our role will be to mobilize and educate local chambers of commerce across the state and help them reach out to the businesses and industries in their hometowns,” Zook said. “All of the chambers across Arkansas will be asking businesses to join the movement through the ‘Power Over Pandemic Pledge.’”
Another major target of the campaign will be underserved and rural communities. The Arkansas Minority Health Commission will be playing a significant role in providing equitable access to preventive health care, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
Through its Healthcare Transformation Division, the Northwest Arkansas Council is working to ensure that the local Latinx and Pacific Islander communities have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, as well.