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Biden turns to NASCAR, NAACP to convince people to take vaccines

FILE PHOTO: Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in front of a U.S. flag in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden is enlisting the help of groups as varied as NASCAR and the NAACP as part of a multi-billion dollar effort to convince Americans to take COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden is trying to control a raging pandemic that has killed 550,000 Americans by obtaining enough vaccine for the country’s 330 million residents by May.

Yet, with a quarter of Americans reluctant to get vaccinated, filling the country’s vaccine shortage may not be enough.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans said they were not interested in getting vaccinated, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll this month, a figure that has not budged in months.

Vice President Kamala Harris and other administration officials will hold an online event on Wednesday bringing together churches, native tribal leaders, civil rights activists and sports leagues like Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Football League and NASCAR.

The organizations are founding members of the administration’s COVID-19 Community Corps, an effort to encourage people to take vaccines from trusted sources.

The administration is also pumping $10 billion to increase vaccine access in vulnerable communities, including public outreach. They are also launching a multi-million dollar advertising campaign in English and Spanish to urge people to seek information from the government about the vaccines and get the shot when they qualify.

Biden has set a goal of getting 200 million vaccine shots in people’s arms in his first 100 days in office.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Stephen Coates

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