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UPDATE 1-White House enlisting faith leaders, doctors to reach Republicans hesitant about vaccine

UPDATE 1-White House enlisting faith leaders, doctors to reach Republicans hesitant about vaccine

· 03/15/2021 14:20
UPDATE 1-White House enlisting faith leaders, doctors to reach Republicans hesitant about vaccine

Adds quote, background

- The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is looking for ways to reach Republicans who are hesitant to get the coronavirus vaccine, the White House said on Monday.

Health officials are contacting evangelicals and other conservatives to reach Republicans, press secretary Jen Psaki said.

"The President’s goal is to vaccinate all Americans, not just those who voted for him," Psaki said. "We know that we need to meet everyone where they are, and that includes conservatives, and ensure there are trusted messengers who lead the way in those engagements."

In a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released last week, about half of U.S. men who identified themselves as Republicans said they had no plans to get the vaccine.

Eighty-one percent of Republicans said they would trust their own doctor’s advice on a COVID-19 vaccine, Psaki said Monday, and that's one area where the White House is concentrating.

"We’re also meeting regularly with conservative groups, faith leaders and rural stakeholders to partner with them," she said.

The White House would support former President Donald Trump's support, she said. "If former President Trump woke up tomorrow and wanted to be more vocal about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, certainly we'd support that," Psaki said.

Trump told attendees at a conservative conference last month to get vaccinated - saying, "everybody, go get your shot" - the first time he had publicly encouraged people to do so.

The other living former U.S. presidents - Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter - are set to appear in two public service announcements for the coronavirus vaccine alongside their wives, without Trump.

Other presidents "have participated in public campaigns" on the vaccine, Psaki said Monday. "They did not need an engraved invitation to do so," she added.


(Reporting by Heather Timmons
Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)

((Heather.Timmons@thomsonreuters.com;))