Authorities Recruit an Army of Influencers to Boost Vaccinations
By Sophia Mao
As the new delta variant is spreading like wildfire across the US, the government and states have gone out of their way to find an unusual strategy to convince the teenage population to get vaccinated. The White House has recruited TikTokers, while some states are paying smaller influencers for pro-vaccine campaigns.
A large number of people aged 12-17 have not been vaccinated. In America, about 58% of these kids haven’t even received their first shot. More than half of Americans aged 18-39 aren’t fully vaccinated.
The government doesn’t have much influence over the younger generation, so they came up with the idea of reaching out to TikTok stars. If you have been living under a rock, TikTok is a popular social media app that allows the users to watch or upload 15 second to 3 minute videos. It’s very popular among the younger generations because of the constant trends. Anyone on the app can go “viral” which is one of many reasons why so many teens love the app.
17 year old Ellie Zeiler, one of the selected TikTok creators with over 10 million followers, received an email from an influencer marketing agency called Village Marketing in June. The company is working with the White House to recruit TikTok influencers. The highschool senior, who usually posts short fashion and lifestyle videos, quickly agreed to join the campaign.
TikTokers aren’t the only ones being recruited; YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and even the popular pop star Olivia Rodrigo have been enlisted. In total, there are around 50 influencers that are now a part of this program- all of them with enormous online audiences.
Meanwhile, some of the states are also taking action. Colorado, for example, is paying social media influencers up to one grand a month to notify people to get vaccinated. The same situation is happening in New Jersey as well and it seems to be working. Sumaira J. Khan, a small influencer in New Jersey, has been getting positive responses to her #MaskUp posts.
While these tactics by the authorities are definitely not typical, it’s probably the most effective way to reach out to the younger generation and convince them to get vaccinated or wear masks.