Trusted Messengers: Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines Through Art


November 25, 2022 – August 25, 2023

photograph of “Keep Your Guard Up” sign on sandwich board outside of courthouse in Sumpter County

The discovery of the deadly novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in December 2019 forever changed all our lives. Because vaccination against COVID-19 is a primary factor in reducing harm from this disease, the U.S. government launched the largest vaccination campaign in recent U.S. history in 2020. Americans’ willingness to seek out COVID-19 vaccines can be summed up in one word: Trust.

Trusted Messengers: Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines Through Art spotlights some of the arts and culture partners who worked with CDC and the CDC Foundation in 2022 to help bolster demand for COVID-19 vaccines by building trust and confidence in their communities. The goal of this project was to inspire people to get vaccinated by helping make COVID-19 vaccination messages more accessible, acceptable and memorable by fostering dialogue and strengthening the voices of historically underserved communities. Organizations across the U.S. produced artwork and events in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and/or with low vaccination rates.

Through multiple strategies and media, including public events, posters, social media and videos, community artists and culture bearers translated information and ideas. They reached across diverse audiences to help strengthen our understanding and capture the emotions of living through a pandemic in a way that public health data alone cannot. These works will continue to reverberate long after the pandemic ends and inspire future public health partnerships.