Blue Ribbon Task Force to Stem COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy


Bringing together nation’s top doctors, entertainment industry, NGOs, and America’s C-Suite to tackle vaccine hesitancy

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Fortune 500 leaders, and more joined The Creative Coalition President Tim Daly at inaugural Task Force meeting

March 9, 2021 (NEW YORK, NY) – The Creative Coalition today announced the National Blue Ribbon Task Force to Stem COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, a national effort spearheaded by The Creative Coalition in partnership with the Dean of the Yale University School of Public Health that brings together the most significant influencers and leaders in the U.S. from the entertainment industry, Fortune 500 companies, academia, medicine, professional sports, retail, fashion, and NGOs to lead social welfare and public advocacy efforts to stem COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The Blue Ribbon Task Force will provide programming, leadership, guidance, and creative assets in a national campaign aimed at reducing vaccine hesitancy across the most vulnerable communities.

“The Blue Ribbon Task Force is the only program that maximizes the nation’s best resources and most influential platforms in one voice to underscore the CDC’s and Dr. Fauci’s recommendations to achieve a COVID-vaccinated nation,” said The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk. “The Creative Coalition is honored to join the School of Public Health at Yale University in this critical effort to focus a national spotlight on the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines.”

“Public opinion is critical to public health,” said Dr. Sten Vermund, Dean, Yale University School of Public Health. “By combining the influence and resources of The Creative Coalition, its allies in the entertainment industry, the business community, and the expertise of the Yale School of Public Health, the Blue Ribbon Task Force can move hearts and minds to ensure that Americans from all communities can access and embrace safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. We are honored to be part of this first-of-its-kind partnership to boost public confidence in this vital barrier to disease. It was gratifying to see public health colleagues from Emory, Brown, Vanderbilt, and others contribute their expertise to this launch.”

The Task Force held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, March 3, at a virtual event attended by the nation’s top doctors, including CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States; Hollywood talent including The Creative Coalition president Tim Daly, Harry Hamlin, Jon Huertas, CCH Pounder, Richard Schiff, and KT Tunstall. In addition to The Creative Coalition and Yale School of Public Health, other entities that are part of the task force include APCO Worldwide, BNY Mellon, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Deloitte, Franklin Templeton, Stanley Black & Decker, The American Cleaning Institute, The Corcoran Group, UPS, and ViacomCBS, among others.

At the event, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, in part:

“We are here today to harness the power of influencers in building vaccine confidence. While we do see that confidence is increasing as more and more people get vaccinated and experience with the vaccine grows, we know that people who are admired can be influential and trusted sources when they are genuine in expressing their views. And this can translate into increased trust in vaccines and interest in getting vaccinated among fans and followers. Imagine what we could achieve together with your combined collaboration and massive spheres of influence.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci said, in part:

“It is a fact that people listen to prominent members of society, particularly some that they might recognize, such as people in the entertainment business or people who’ve reached a degree of accomplishment and respectability in the business world. When those people are out there giving the message that they have confidence in the safety and the efficacy of the vaccine, it is surprising how many people you can actually win over… So I think the role that could be played is extraordinary and, likely, would be successful.”

The Creative Coalition President Tim Daly said, in part:

“The arts can be the most powerful, transformative, and effective change-agent available to mankind. The Creative Coalition was founded to utilize the power of the arts, of letters, and of entertainment in partnership with influential leaders so that we can help provide for social welfare and serve the public good. The Blue Ribbon Task Force — this braintrust spearheaded by The Creative Coalition and Yale — is designed to provide programming, leadership, guidance, and assets to mitigate COVID vaccine hesitancy and, in turn, eradicate this virus that has paralyzed our nation and the world.”

Co-chairs of the Task Force are Jenny Johnson, President & CEO, Franklin Templeton Investments; Margery Kraus, CEO and Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide; Rob O’Neill, SVP, Content Strategy & Acquisitions, ViacomCBS; and Dr. Sten Vermund, Dean, Yale University School of Public Health.

“I’m very proud to be associated with this important initiative,” said Jenny Johnson, President & CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments. “Combining The Creative Coalition’s proven track record of social awareness campaigns with the area of expertise of Yale’s school of public health, the Task Force promises to be a game-changer in the effort to combat hesitancy about the vaccine.”

“At APCO, we have a long history of addressing issues of vaccine hesitancy,” said Margery Kraus, CEO and Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide. “This is a logical extension of that work. The Blue Ribbon Task Force is going to add tremendous velocity and visibility to the efforts that we’ve dedicated to bolster confidence in these life-saving vaccines.” 

“For the next century, the greatest minds will be excavating the steps that we as a global community have taken to overcome COVID-19. It’s going to take courage, it’s going to take leadership, it’s going to take all of us,” said Rob O’Neill, SVP, Content Strategy & Acquisitions, ViacomCBS. “The Blue Ribbon Task Force will create public service campaigns and on-the-ground activations to meet vaccine hesitancy right where it lives. This is our time.”


THE CREATIVE COALITION is the premier nonprofit, 501(c)(3) nonpartisan charity of the entertainment industry dedicated to using the power and platform of the arts and entertainment communities in award-winning public service and advocacy campaigns. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s president.

THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AT YALE UNIVERSITY provides leadership to protect and improve the health of the public. Through innovative education, research, policy analysis and practice that draws upon interdisciplinary scholarship from across the graduate and professional programs at Yale, the school serves local, national and international communities with its knowledge and expertise. We foster health equity, social justice and respectful discourse to enrich our teaching and scholarship, as well as empower the communities that we serve.

Seth Adam, The Lead PR
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