Data-Smart City Pod: Mayors Address Vaccine Hesitancy

Episode Summary

In this special episode, Professor Steve Goldsmith interviews Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Mayor Ras Baraka as part of an event on addressing vaccine hesitancy.

Episode Notes

In this special episode, Professor Steve Goldsmith interviews Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Mayor Ras Baraka as part of an event on addressing vaccine hesitancy. Based in a recent research project of 18 American cities using sentiment mining, Professor Goldsmith interviews the Mayors to understand how they’re using data, policy, and influence to understand the concerns of their residents and ensure the public health and safety of their cities.

About Data-Smart City Pod

New from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Data-Smart City Pod brings on top innovators and leading industry, academic, and government officials to discuss data, innovation, and government. This podcast serves as a central resource for cities and individuals interested in the intersection of government and innovations, the adoption of data projects on the local government level, and how to become data smart. Hosted by Stephen Goldsmith, former Deputy Mayor of New York,  Mayor of Indianapolis, and current Professor at Harvard Kennedy School.

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Music credit: Summer-Man by Ketsa

About Data-Smart City Solutions

Data-Smart City Solutions, housed at the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School, is working to catalyze the adoption of data projects on the local government level by serving as a central resource for cities interested in this emerging field. We highlight best practices, top innovators, and promising case studies while also connecting leading industry, academic, and government officials. Our research focus is the intersection of government and data, ranging from open data and predictive analytics to civic engagement technology. We seek to promote the combination of integrated, cross-agency data with community data to better discover and preemptively address civic problems. To learn more visit us online and follow us on Twitter

About the Ash Center 

The Ash Center is a research center and think tank at Harvard Kennedy School focused on democracy, government innovation, and Asia public policy. AshCast, the Center's podcast series, is a collection of conversations, including events and Q&As with experts, from around the Center on pressing issues, forward-looking solutions, and more. 

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Episode Transcription


Steve Goldsmith: Hello. This is Steve Goldsmith, Professor of Urban Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School. And you're listening to Data-Smart City Pod, where we bring on top innovators and experts to discuss the future of cities and how to become data smart.


Steve Goldsmith: Our podcast today is a bit different. This is a recording of a recent event we hosted at Kennedy School's Ash Center, where we talk with mayors LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans and Ras Baraka mayor of Newark about vaccine hesitancy, and how they are addressing this in their respective cities. This conversation is part of a larger project which was a study of vaccine hesitancy in 18 American cities using sentiment mining. That report is available on the Data-Smart City Solutions site. Welcome to our seminar today, it's an exciting seminar on an important subject. I'm Steve Goldsmith, I'm a professor of urban policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and your moderator for today about an important project that we've been working on for the last several months.

Before we begin, the Ash Center would like to acknowledge the land on which Harvard sits as a traditional territory of the Massachusetts people, and a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange among nations. This seminar today, I think is quite important. Mayors have taken a leadership role, obviously in a number of things, but including the response to COVID. And this project, this data, this information, helps us understand the drivers of resident behavior on vaccines, including the social determinants of health, allows us to look at how cities can minimize negative impact and misinformation, and how mayors can use their voice when they understand how their communities react to their voice by ethnicity, or by neighborhood, certainly by social information as well.

So with us today, we have two of the country's most outstanding mayors joining us. What we're dealing with here today is a particular interest, right? It's how a local government official who's respected can use his or her voice to affect the behaviors of their residents, right? And encouraging them to utilize the available vaccines, especially when the mayor is competing against a fair amount of misinformation on social media and conflicting national and state voices. These two mayors have been particularly outstanding in using their voice, in setting up programs and policies and activities in their communities. So let's go first to Mayor Cantrell and then to Mayor Baraka, just how you think about the vaccine rollout, not just the mechanics, but how you think about the communication strategy in order to improve the take-up rates of vaccines. Mayor Cantrell, please.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell: Well, good morning and thank you for having me, and it's always good to be alongside my brother, Mayor Ras. As you all have indicated, as it relates to the hesitancy and the need to trust public officials is definitely a necessity, in New Orleans, they call me T, so I'm looked at as the auntie of the city, and, of course, the mother of the city, but that comes an affection that they have, and it is respect, but I'm going to say right now we have about 50.3% of our eligible population fully vaccinated, pushing to get to that 75% herd immunity. We have been very intentional going to our black and brown areas where we know we need to focus, that were the hardest hit. We have had shot-for-shots for our hospitality industry. We have vaccinated all of our home bound residents as well. We have created Sleeves Up NOLA using our cultural barriers and artisans to encourage residents.

We have tapped into our influencers as well, and the influencers on social media are very important, and you have to, one, have their respect and trust in order for them to even push the message. But we have just seen tremendous responses to going into the community, working with our musicians as well to get our folks vaccinated. We've also been able to use Zencity to survey our folks and to determine what and who they trust the most. And so what we found is that they also want to hear from folks who look like them, the people who are in their families, aunt and uncles, and Mardi Gras Indians even that they believe in.

And so we have just engaged with them on the ground. We've also worked with our barbers and beauticians, again, who are trusted figures in the community, educated our pastors, faith leaders. And it's a different approach than offering a gift card for folks to roll up their sleeves. But we just keep engaging our residents to show them the value of getting vaccinated. And, of course, being the mayor, and being out there, and being very public on display, getting vaccinated myself, my daughter will be getting her vaccination, and she wants to be an example as well, but we just find that this is our way of building that trust, and they need to see you also walking the talk, and it's proven to be very effective.

Steve Goldsmith: Thanks for your presentation. We'll be back to you shortly, you've been doing a lot of work, I've got a number of follow-up questions. Thank you very much. Mayor Baraka, same question, and how are you responding please?

Mayor Ras Baraka: How are you doing man? How's everything? It's a pleasure to be on here. Always a pleasure. Just echoing some of the same sentiments that were already expressed. We obviously on our live, Facebook Live, we have three days a week probably for the last year, we've had every Wednesday doctors of color, nurses, on talking to people, specifically addressing all of the misinformation, on the issues that they may have the hesitancy, and basically general questions. We've been doing pop-up sites around the city that doesn't require registration. You can just walk up and get vaccinated. In the beginning the state and the county and all these folks set up these huge sites expecting that people would be coming to those sites, but if you're hesitant you're not going to catch a bus, register and wait in line for something that you're hesitant about. So we have to make it available to them.

We also went to people's homes who were home bound who could not get out of their homes, seniors and other folks. We vaccinated them and we're vaccinating our residents without addresses. So we've done a number of things, using, well said, local influencers. But I think the greatest asset that we've had, I got vaccinated, we try to vaccinate as many people as we can in a community who people would respect. And I would say the more people get vaccinated, the more people get vaccinated, right? And that's basically been what we've seen. So going to the neighborhood and vaccinating people helps us vaccinate more people. And that's better than any ad advertisement, money that's being spent, or anything else. We bring people out, try to vaccinate people on the block, prayerfully everybody else will get themselves vaccinated as well in that vein.

So we've just been talking to the people regularly. And the last thing I want to say, we've never forced people. We never forced the vaccine on people. We never lectured to folks. We never told them that they ought to do this for the good of the community, for this, or that. I basically told them that they should get the information that they need, research, study what this is, listen to what's going on, and when you're ready take the vaccine. And getting people who other folks trust to do it first, and then other folks began to take it from there.

Steve Goldsmith: Thanks mayor. I've got a couple of questions for you, and then back to Mayor Cantrell, because I think both mayors are trusted messengers, but Mayor Baraka just mentioned how he activated, for example, black doctors and others who are trusted in communities. We saw some pretty positive responses to your Facebook conversations. Could you just tell the audience about those a little bit, please?

Mayor Baraka: The Facebook conversations, we've been bringing doctors on every Wednesday for the most part, most Wednesdays doctors who are from pediatricians to epidemiologists, whoever we could get, to talk to the community specifically about issues that they have and information that they've heard. And they've addressed that very a matter-of-factly in layman's terms without a lot of doctor talk, it was very simple and people responded to that. In fact, I know a young lady who said she got registered with a vaccine the next day after she heard one of the doctors begin to speak about it, and specifically around how it affects women of color and maternity and all those other specific things. So it's been working.

Steve Goldsmith:Thanks. I'm going to go to Mayor Cantrell, but mayor I'm just noticing the importance of nonprofit messengers, religious leaders are more important in some communities than others. I know you both have reached out culturally, let me, Mayor Cantrell I have two questions, one about this, and then [inaudible 00:09:41] take it down in a second is, so I was doing a little research for the seminar and I found out that in Washington, DC, there are groups giving away free weed if you get inoculated, and in New Orleans you get crawfish, which seemed like a slightly better approach to the incentive process. So maybe you tell us a little bit about local messengers, and if you want to plug New Orleans crawfish at the same time, you can do that.

Mayor Cantrell: Well, it is crawfish season and we love some good food in the city of New Orleans, and that was an easy way to get people connected to what they love, but really it's the locations that matter as well. So trusted areas in the community. So it's not just the crawfish, but it's the crawfish on top of a safe space that is known to invest in people. And so it's a win-win all around. And so utilizing our nonprofit community. So having those lessons learned and making sure that we kept those relationships viable with our nonprofit community, have just paid dividends as we've moved through this pandemic. And so even utilizing our cultural barriers when I talked about Sleeves Up NOLA, that really started with, we started with Mask Up NOLA campaign, where we had our cultural community, our musicians, your high profile public figures saying mask up, which was very effective. We were able to beat that virus back and we just picked up that same method to getting people vaccinated.

And so even with the shots-for-shots, and we're a hospitality driven community. We have festivals, this is in the middle of festival seasons. We have second-lines. And so I've had to threaten a little bit now brother mayor, because our folks want to get back to celebrating our traditions and loving on one another as they're used to. And the only way to do that is through the vaccine. So I've had to say, look, you want second-lines to come on back, but we can't get there. You want Jazz Fest to come back. You want ESSENCE to come back. So I've had to, and even as I gear up for ESSENCE Festival this year, which is going to be virtual, but we will have some activations in the city in June, but I am saying that you have to be vaccinated to participate. So those are just other ways that we're leveraging our nonprofit community, our partners for festivals to get people vaccinated, and it's working, and people are eating crawfish at the same time.

Steve Goldsmith: I want to come back to this incentive, culturally sensitive incentives that the mayor mentioned. Mayor Baraka, I noticed that one of the few voices more effective than yours in Newark was Queen Latifah. You want to tell us about that?

Mayor Baraka: Well, of course, Queen Latifah is an icon in this community. So obviously she came with her family and got vaccinated. It didn't make a big hoopla out of it. She's shooting a movie here. She said while she's here she wants to get vaccinated. We made that happen, and we broadcasted it obviously across the city. And it encouraged other people who look at her as a regular person, not just as a movie star, but somebody that they can relate to who obviously is successful. And when she got vaccinated it helped other people do the same.

Steve Goldsmith: Mayors, could you talk just a little bit about how you think about incentives, and we have levers. We have your voice. The information from Zencity found that both of your voices are particularly effective, particularly when combined with ease of accessibility pop-up vaccinations like Mayor Baraka said, but how about the incentives, or levers, that are showing as particularly affected as well? Mayor Cantrell, and then back to Mayor Baraka.

Mayor Cantrell: I think that for the city of New Orleans and how we, again, experience one another through cultural events and festivals, and the same season, the schedule was released on yesterday, and right before this call I got a call from the Dome and asking me my thoughts about filling the Dome. And I said, listen, you need to push vaccinations, you need to push it. We need to get to herd immunity. We can do this definitely before September, no doubt about it. There is no reason why anyone should not be vaccinated, meaning the accessibility is there. We have more supply than demand now. And so I am saying if you want to be in that Dome in September it's contingent upon being vaccinated. And that is something that the organization seems to be embracing as well, but even as it relates to ESSENCE Festival as I just mentioned, and that is a black owned a media company, it's the largest festival in the United States, and particularly where African-Americans emerge on the city of New Orleans.

And when I think about my community, black and brown hit the hardest in this city, and out of 792 deaths, 600 reflect black people. And so I'm like, Hey, and you're coming back to our city in which we love the partnership, but if you are upholding the black community and black folk, I need you to get with me on this and push this community to be vaccinated. And so they've embraced that concept as well. And so anyone who would participate in our small activations will have to have had their first dose, or definitely completed the vaccination process. I stand by it simply because the greatest impact in this community have been black and brown through deaths and closely aligned with our cultural community.

Steve Goldsmith: Mayor Baraka.

Mayor Baraka: Yep. I would have to echo everything that Mayor Cantrell said, that's right on the money in terms of who's been affected, and the death rate here in New Jersey, and I would imagine that that is the same all over the country. I think that urging folks to get vaccinated to participate in these things is the right thing to do. Obviously at the Prudential Arena, at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, all of these things people are beginning to advocate for either showing a negative test, or a vaccination in order to enter these events. And I think that that is obviously the way to go. Your data shows it is something that people have been talking about. And I think that's something that we should be doing in New Jersey.

Steve Goldsmith: We have a number of audience questions about how one would implement vaccine verification. Do you know how they're doing it at the Prudential Center, or if the given centers, they're asking for a cell phone picture, or just assuming people are telling the truth, or what?

Mayor Baraka: Well, I think it's both. I think that they're asking people for their vaccination cards, because I went to an event they had that. They're asking people for proof that you have a letter from the doctor, or whatever, saying that you have a negative test, but there is also a database that people are talking about this passport, New York is piloting it as well. You're already in the state's database. So if there's an app that they can go into and see your name in the database that you have in fact been vaccinated, it's not a difficult thing to do to be able to create this app where people can see that you've been vaccinated, because you're in the state's database.

Steve Goldsmith: Mayor Cantrell.

Mayor Cantrell: I would agree. One, the state department of health has this app they've created where you can download your card, your vaccination card, and have it readily available. Of course you can have your card physically, I'm encouraging people to get it laminated, and you show your card and, or a negative test as well. But I am leaning more towards the vaccination card and encouraging people to sign up on the Louisiana department of health website in order to have it just readily accessible at any given time.

Steve Goldsmith:  I've got one more question for the mayors then we'll go to audience questions. When I looked at your research, the differences in trust level by ethnicity, and I'm going to ask the two mayors how they think about their message and their outreach overcoming some of that distrust.

Mayor Cantrell: Well, in terms of outreach, we have been, I get my data stats weekly as it relates to the census tracts on where people are vaccinated, or where we need to focus. And so we go straight to that census tract. We created neighborhood navigators where we employ neighborhood leaders who live in those particular census tracts. We've equipped them with laptops, and the technology needed where they're able to help our people navigate whether initially it was the getting tested, but now it's transitioned into getting vaccinated as well as getting employment opportunities, or unemployment insurance, or whatever they feel that they need, but the meet people where they are concept is something that we have embraced 100%, and it is through these navigators that we're now scaling up that will be a part of our recovery. So it's getting us to herd immunity, but also getting people back to work, getting their kids back to school, and providing them with the tools that they need. And in some cases, some hand-holding that's necessary, that will be necessary through case management for example, to get us to a full recovery.

So that initiative we built right from the start, but just scaling it up now as we're moving towards a full recovery. And I think that people, neighborhood leaders are the world's greatest experts on where they live, and the people who live in their neighborhood. And so we just feel, again, they're a trust factor, they're going door to door. Hey, we know you, this household needs to be vaccinated, and we'll go with you even. So we feel that those are concepts that will build trust and get people vaccinated. And that will improve the public health outcomes in our city.

Steve Goldsmith: Very helpful. Mayor, do you have anything you want to add?

Mayor Baraka: Not really. I think she said exactly what needs to be said. We have a group called People's Assembly. They meet regularly. They go out and talk to the local organizations, the community groups, the district leaders, the block association folks, really empower them to help us get the people in those areas that we know are lacking to get vaccinated. And the only way they're going to do it is if we bring the vaccinations to them, they're not going to come out of that neighborhood to go get vaccinated.

Steve Goldsmith:  So, I'll just, before we go to the audience, two things, I'm interested in what you saw as the biggest differences by ethnicity, or by age group, because this is a conversation, right? About the “persuadables”, or whatever the word is you used in the survey, right? It's not about the hardcore conspiracists are not going to believe Mayor Baraka probably, or Mayor Cantrell, or even Harvard University surprisingly enough. Right? But there is a group of individuals that are persuadable by the message we talked about. So just a word, or two, Eyal, about the differences by age and ethnicity, and then let's go to the questions.

Eyal Feder-Levy: Yeah, definitely. And I think that point you made now is one of our most important takeaways is that the persuadable group can get us to that 70, 75% vaccination rate, and there is no need to fight the diehards anti-vaxxers, right? We should focus our energy on the people that are open to a conversation and are willing to have that conversation, and have the right messaging, the right efforts in order to get there. And one of the main findings that we shared before is exactly to Mayor Baraka's point right now is that, those door-to-door initiatives, those pop-up initiatives, they mean a lot because many of our communities just don't have the same rate of access to vaccinations as other communities.

We see here, again, by ethnicity that in the white Caucasian across, again, 18 cities and counties across the country, there is a higher rate of people that already got vaccinated than the ones that intend to get vaccinated, but in communities of color, in the black and brown communities, we can see that the people that want to get vaccinated, and tend to get vaccinated, are much higher than the ones that actually got vaccinated. And that is, again, if you go back to the other findings, oftentimes because of lack of convenient access to vaccinations.

So that equity of distribution, those initiatives of going to door-to-door it's such as meaningful. And what you shared Steve on differences by ethnicity, I think are also interesting. When we look at what is actually driving vaccine hesitancy, what are the things in each of these communities that drives skepticism toward the vaccines? We see that that varies quite differently between communities. There's, for example, a very different rate of trust in the fear of the personal risks in different communities, very different levels of thought about concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine in different communities between white community and black community and so on. So definitely we need to tailor the messages to the different communities to the people that we want to make an impact on, on their decision-making.

Steve Goldsmith:  So Mayor Baraka, then Mayor Cantrell. So if we're thinking about, we have this range of things that you all can do, right? We have encouraging local sports teams to offer incentives, using your voices, pop-ups and the like, and we have this very interesting statistic that the number of folks of color who are interested in getting vaccinated actually exceeds those who are vaccinated, right? So what are the other practical things that you can think about in your communities? Because we have a lot of people listening today that could benefit from how you're thinking about addressing those communities, persuadable communities, mostly of color, interested in being vaccinated, but need just a little bit maybe of a nudge, or a convenience factor. What else could we do?

Mayor Baraka: Recently we had an event in Ivy Hill Park, which is a area of the city where we had low vaccination rate. We gave out food, we had a DJ out there, we gave out information and we told people we were coming. And we created the kind of atmosphere where people came out, we vaccinated a 141 people that day, just walk-ups, nobody registered, probably half of them did not even know that we were going to be out there. They came out there and got vaccinated that day. Over 70 of them were vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson. They took it still in that community. So it's evident that if you go to the neighborhoods, if you have something there, an event, people where you capture them and they stay in and participate, they will get vaccinated when they see other people get vaccinated, especially outside. When they're seeing people get vaccinated, they'll stop and want to be a part of that as well, which is what we're going to continue to do in a city block by block, in areas where we're having difficulty.

Steve Goldsmith:  Mayor Cantrell, your answer, and also have you utilized neighborhood churches at all to do outreach?

Mayor Cantrell: Oh, absolutely. The faith-based community has been front and center throughout the past 15 months. First on trying to stop the spread and getting tested and the like. And now that's just pivoted towards vaccinations. And so we have seen that that is very much effective. Like my brother mayor said, I don't think it's rocket science, it's just something that we have to do consistent, and continue our efforts, reaching people, meeting them where they are, and the more people that get vaccinated, the more people get vaccinated. I agree with that 100%, it's evident just in the data, whether we just did something similar to as these events, just like my brother mayor just said, on mother's day we had mothers [inaudible 00:26:36], we had mothers out there, they were getting vaccinated.

And even in spite of the setback with J&J, which was really a setback, but in spite of that, people are still trusting it, which is a good thing. And we're encouraging that, but that allows, some people just want the one shot, and that's been proven to be affective as well. They just want the one. And now that it's back online, we're seeing, again, by rates of 70%, people taking J&J. So we're going to be consistent, stay out there as long as it takes.

Steve Goldsmith: You obviously have a huge, hope to, again, have a huge hospitality business, tourism business in New Orleans. And that would mean that hospitality workers who are disproportionately folks of color, right? Would be exposed potentially. Right? So are there outreach programs for those workers as well?

Mayor Cantrell: Oh, absolutely. That was my primary target as well from the very start, and making sure that our people who are the backbone of the industry were a priority. And that's something that we pushed for earlier on when we began to receive the vaccine doses. And so we elevated them as a priority class, which sent that message that they mattered, and they are on the front lines as well. And so we have just seen a significant, not only outreach, but also those who have gotten vaccinated, but I also use it as an opportunity to hold the businesses accountable. They want to open on back up, and, oh this 100%, but I'm like, Hey, you have to care about the people who are on the line that are allowing you the opportunity to make a dollar. And so while on the front end they would say, oh, the industry is the biggest economic driver. Yeah. Over 96,000 people are tied to our industry. Right? Okay. Well now the vaccines are here, well, how many of that 98,000 can you tell me have been vaccinated, and through efforts that you have spearheaded?

So I turned that map around a little bit and pushed the accountability on them because, Hey, they need to demonstrate that they care about the folks who are on the ground. And so that has proven to be effective as well. And so once people believe that you recognize that they matter, then I think that helps not only them get vaccinated, but also bring forth their families to do the same thing. But we have to dignify people throughout this, throughout this pandemic and, of course, throughout recovery. Days of making people feel like you can use them, I think are over. We have to show the love and dignify them through our response as well.

Steve Goldsmith:           That was a terrific answer. A lot of people will see that's a great answer. I have one follow-up question for you mayor, and then we'll go to Mayor Baraka, and we're almost out of time, but Mayor Cantrell just a quick follow-up question. It looks like from the Zencity data, that young adults are more incented by tying the vaccine to an activity that they can do, right? Whether it's a game, or a bar, or an event, we've spent a fair amount of time here as we should on the equity messages. How about that demographic, that 18 to 30 year old demographic that has been a little more resistant to the vaccine. How do you think about reaching them?

Mayor Cantrell: Well, one is, like you mentioned, they love to be part of events and festivals, that is what we have going for us right now. We're in the middle of festival season gearing up. People want Jazz Fest back, they want BUKU Fest, they want all of these different, Voodoo Fest, all the things that they have participated in every single year, they want to be able to engage. And I'm saying, Hey, you need to be vaccinated in order for me to make the decision to provide permits for these large events to happen. And, of course, even just a second-line, which is a big deal in our city, and for our Mardi Gras Indians to mask and to show off their new suits that they've been sewing all year long. This is something that our people are ready to get back to. And I'm saying, if you want to do that, you have to do this first. And I think it's working, we're just, again, trying to be as consistent as possible, but more young people getting vaccinated will only get more people vaccinated.

Steve Goldsmith:  Let me close with a couple of questions, starting with Mayor Baraka and then ending with Mayor Cantrell. Mayor, this project started with RWJ funding to think about how we would use data to help understand the efficacy of the mayoral message. Right? Mayor, as we know, local officials are the most trusted political officials in the country, government officials in the country. So we're interested in looking at your message, right? It was about using the data to reach out. So Mayor Baraka and then Mayor Cantrell, as we go forward based on what you've seen about the data, what you've seen about the results of your message, community engagement and the like, how are you going to think about the next month, or two, in terms of your effort to convince the folks that are persuadable about vaccines?

Mayor Baraka:  Honestly, I just think that we're just going to ramp up what we've already been doing. We're just going to ramp it up, invest more time and energy in that. Also, involve the state and making sure we get enough access to the vaccines to understand that we're going to double our efforts, so we need double the amount of vaccines. And get them to help us concentrate in these communities that are under vaccinated as the state talks about the huge vaccination rate that the state is going through without thinking about our community. We have to encourage them to send us more vaccines, and even more people to help us get into these communities and get that stuff done. It should be all hands on deck.

And that's basically what we're going to do, these pop-ups and events is what we're focusing on. We've already done the churches, we've already done all... And one thing about the church is a lot of people in some of those churches they don't live directly in the community. You go to churches you hit and miss. So we have to go to people's housing complexes. We have to go to their neighborhoods, to the block associations to be able to get these things done. And we're just going to ratchet that up.

Steve Goldsmith: Well, congratulations on what you've accomplished. Mayor Cantrell, closing comments on go-forward strategies based on what you've done and what you've learned, please.

Mayor Cantrell: Yeah. Well, continuing to do what we have seen works, and that is meeting people where they are, going to them, educating them, spending whatever time that's necessary to get them comfortable with taking the vaccine, the case management piece, not just about the vaccine, but also other areas within their lives where they're having some challenges where you can also focus on those aspects as well, because it demonstrates that that whole person matters to you, and they are a part of the community, and it's dignifying them in the response. And I think that we're going to continue to do that. Also, as our higher ed communities are preparing for students to return to campuses, they will be requiring students to be vaccinated. I'm going to leverage that message with my parents who kids attend public school, that I know they want their kids to be in school, I do too. We recognize the trauma and the impact on our young people being disrupted all last year, and through this school year, that we cannot afford to repeat that.

And so we're still in the midst of this pandemic right now, it's not over, but the way that we can get on to recovery is through the vaccination. So we'll just double down as my brother mayor indicated, and continue with strategies that have proven to be effective and pivot where we need to, and be open to that. And I'm on the ground, and talking, and on these campuses, and I'll be driving around, and walking around, and on the microphone, and just doing what it takes.

Steve Goldsmith: Maybe you can get the mayor to loan you Queen Latifah for a second or two. Let me just say that, I think based on the research, and thanks again to George and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we came away encouraged that there is an opportunity here to convince enough folks to get to herd immunity numbers, and that they can be convinced with a range of tools, accessibility tools, family and friends saying the right thing, respected local leaders ethnically sensitive about who folks are listening to and what their interests are. So the work in both of these cities stands out. I would encourage you to look at the report for the rest of the cities as well. Mayors, thank you very much for your leadership, and your voice, and your time, and we are adjourned. Thank you.

Mayor Cantrell: Thank you. Thank you. Good seeing you.


Steve Goldsmith: If you like this podcast, please visit us at, or follow us at Data-Smart Cities on Twitter. Find us on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. This podcast was produced by Betsy Gardner and hosted by me, Steve Goldsmith. We're proud to serve as a central resource for cities interested in the intersection of government, data and innovation. Thanks for listening.