Scott Walker cuts the advert to promote Covid vaccination
Walker and Doyle joke back and forth in a new public service announcement that will air on Wisconsin TV this week and shared with POLITICO.
“Let’s do a commercial together to remind people of Wisconsin the importance of getting vaccinated,” Walker said in the ad.
“This may be the best idea you’ve ever had,” replies Doyle.
The two have teamed up as officials in Wisconsin – like many battlefield states that are ideologically divided – are trying to reach those sections of the population who have resisted vaccination.
“It’s not a political issue. This doesn’t refer to Trump or Biden or Fauci or anyone else, “Walker said in an interview. “It’s just the two of us who say, ‘Hey, we agree. We think it’s a good idea to get vaccinated. ‘”
UW Health, an academic medical system affiliated with the University of Wisconsin that is behind the public service announcement, removed the ad as the state seeks to address sharp disparities in vaccination rates across counties. In Wisconsin, some counties are seeing less than 30 percent vaccination rates, while others are nearing 70 percent.
As in other parts of the country, Wisconsin has low percentages in both rural and urban areas, indicating reluctance across the ideological spectrum. Most publicly available data shows that Trump supporters are the least vaccinated constituency in America. In Wisconsin, this was not aided by the fact that the most prominent Republican elected official, Senator Ron Johnson, has expressed skepticism about the need for rapid vaccination.
But African-American communities that overwhelmingly vote democratic have also seen lower vaccination rates. In Wisconsin, some of this has been attributed to vaccine access, although disinformation campaigns have also been cited.
“We knew that we would have a sizeable population of vaccine reluctants on both the right and left, in which politics at least partially played a role,” said Tom Russell, spokesman for UW Health. “We thought that advertising strange bedfellows might be a great way to break down some resistance to the vaccine and show that it really is something that is good for all of Wisconsin.”