Social media sites, including TikTok, team up to combat vaccine hesitancy

tiktok covid vaccine
Photo via Solen Feyissa/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok, and YouTube have teamed up with the British government to encourage young people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The move comes after England’s National Health Service began offering COVID-19 vaccines to all people over the age of 18 on June 18. One million vaccine appointments were booked in the two days following the announcement. 

From December 2020-June 2021, around 93% of people aged 16-29 years have received or would be likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is the highest the percentage has been since the question was first asked on the survey, starting at 63% at the beginning of the vaccination program in December 2020.

The governmental collaboration with social media platforms aims to help prevent the spread of misinformation and encourages and normalizes receiving a vaccine. 

Snapchat users will be able to use new NHS stickers and a filter that says “I’ve had my vaccine.”

Snapchat will also offer links to reputable sources of COVID-19 information, and the prime minister’s Snapchat account will host a series of Q&As with medical experts.

TikTok is also adding features aimed at encouraging young people to get a COVID vaccine. The platform is rolling out vaccine stickers and working with a group of scientists who are using the video-sharing site to share clips about vaccines.

Reddit is hosting live ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions, featuring health experts including Dr. Amalina Bakri, a clinical research fellow at Imperial College London who answer questions about the virus and vaccines. 

YouTube recently partnered with the NHS on a multi-million pound campaign to persuade young people to join the millions of people already vaccinated. The new collaboration came just before the conclusion of the final stage of England’s lockdown, which would have removed all remaining limits on social contact.

England’s final stage was pushed back to July 19 after the delta variant began its rapid spread through the country. 

As of July 8, more than 45.5 million people in the United Kingdom have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.K.’s COVID-19 Tracker

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Sources: Gov.UK, ONS, Sky News, I News

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