DRC Launches COVID Vaccine Awareness Campaign (Free Cowboys Tickets, Anyone?)

The Dallas Regional Chamber wants 600,000 more North Texans to get a COVID-19 vaccine—not only for them, but to support local businesses. To sweeten the sting of the shot and help reach herd immunity, the campaign offers sweepstakes prizes from prime Cowboys, Mavs, Stars, Wings, and FC Dallas seats to round-trip flights on Southwest and American Airlines.

If you haven’t had your COVID-19 vaccine yet, the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) would like a word with you. Lots of words in fact—on billboards, a microsite, and targeted social media. The DRC’s multimedia vaccine awareness campaign “Take Care of Business” launched today—encouraging 600,000 more North Texans to get vaccinated in the coming months.

“Getting the vaccine is about protecting you, but that’s not all it’s about,” said Dale Petroskey, DRC president and CEO, in a statement. “It’s also about protecting the employees of every North Texas business so they can fully reopen and get back to the life they deserve. And that’s everyone’s business.”

Sweepstakes prizes to “Take Care of Business”

The campaign’s microsite has info on vaccine events and even offers sweepstakes prizes—from prime seats to Dallas Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, Wings, and FC Dallas games to round trips on Southwest and American Airlines, and more. The DRC will offer the prizes in random drawings later this summer as incentives to get the vaccine. The prizes have been donated by DRC members and other community partners.

Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall [Image: Courtesy Dallas Mavericks]

One Dallas Mavericks exec and DRC board member has a personal reason for supporting the campaign: Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall: “I got the vaccine because I’m mindful of my chemo-compromised immune system as result of my being a cancer survivor, and I wanted to improve my chances of beating COVID-19, as I know people who died from the virus,” she said. “Fortunately, data show that my chances of survival are much better now that I’ve received both doses of the vaccine.”

Marshall speaks directly to the campaign’s goal: increasing the percentage of vaccinated North Texans age 16 and older from the current 60% to 70% this summer—especially among communities of color.

Reaching communities of color

Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hispanic Texans up only 40% of the population, but account for 52% of reported COVID-19 cases and just 33% of the vaccinations given to date. Black Texans are 12% of the population, but account for 15% of reported COVID cases and just 8% of vaccinations to date.

To address that, the campaign will support mobile vaccinations at events like the Juneteenth March at Fair Park and the Juneteenth Unity Weekend Celebration, and vaccination drives by community organizations like Abounding Prosperity, Behind Every Door, and Concord Church.

The campaign will also sponsor a phone bank to share facts about the vaccines with communities of color, and partner to spread the message with the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, and Plano Chamber of Commerce.

Phase Two: The PSA Campaign

You won’t just see the campaign on outdoor billboards. Starting June 23, you’ll be seeing it and hearing it all over North Texas.

That’s when the DRC will launch the PSA phase of the campaign, with commercials on local TV and radio, in-store grocery announcements, and video screens playing in doctor’s offices across the region.

“It’s time to unmask”

“Vaccinations are the key to getting back to business in North Texas,” said Michelle Vopni, Dallas office managing partner for Ernst & Young and chair of the board of the DRC, in the statement. “When you choose to get vaccinated, you’re choosing to support the businesses that make our region thrive. It’s time to unmask and support our businesses again, but to do so, North Texans must get vaccinated. That’s why today, we’re asking you, your neighbors, and your employees to get vaccinated.”

One in three North Texas small businesses have closed down since the pandemic began, according to the DRC’s Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, as of May 23. The DRC’s goal: keep more businesses open and thriving. To achieve that, the DRC believes  600,000 more North Texans need to be vaccinated in the coming months.

“Small business owners—like your hairstylist, your dry cleaner, your local restaurant owner—have been impacted far greater than most across the region,” said Latosha Herron Bruff, SVP for community engagement at the DRC. “The goal of our campaign is to allow everyone to get back to business so they can once again support themselves and their loved ones.”

Getting ahead of COVID variants

One thing that worries local business leaders and physicians alike: new, highly contagious variants of COVID-19 emerging from around the world. This makes the DRC’s campaign even more urgent and timely.

“We’ve seen the encouraging trend of fewer cases and fewer hospitalizations since the start of vaccination,” said Dr. James Cutrell, UT Southwestern’s Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in Infectious Diseases and President of the Texas Infectious Diseases Society. “As the more contagious variants of the virus become more prevalent, vaccination remains our best option for sustaining these downward trends. In the race to beat COVID-19 and get back to business, we can see the finish line ahead and need to keep pushing forward to finish strong.”

That’s one more reason to roll up our sleeves and get the vaccine (even if we don’t win the Cowboys tickets).

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