The U.S. is turning to some unconventional ways to help promote the vaccine amongst individuals who are still hesitant about receiving the life-saving double dose. Colorado appears to be leading the change with its #PowertheComeback initiative. The state is calling on the help of some social media influencers to aid in spreading factual information about the vaccine with the hopes of targeting communities of color.
According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine rates tend to be lower on average among non-white people, particularly for Blacks and Latinos. Now vaccine rates are slumping even more as the rise of the Delta Variant continues to wreak havoc across the U.S. For communities of color, questions still loom around the safety of the shot which could be linked to fears of the historical negative mistreatment the groups have endured throughout the healthcare system.
So how does it work? The vaccine social media gurus can be paid up to $1000 a month to help spread awareness about the lifesaving drug across platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Influencers are encouraged to share their personal stories of receiving the vaccine and to alert their followers of COVID-19 vaccination sites nearby.
29-year-old fashion blogger Abena Antwiwaa of Aurora confessed to AP News that she was just as skeptical as some of her peers on receiving the vaccine, especially as a person living with sickle cell anemia.
“I was so nervous about getting vaccinated, and I shared that experience,” Antwiwaa explained. “It resonated with a lot of people,” she added.
Antwiwaa was initially concerned that the vaccine would affect her monthly blood transfusions, but thankfully she’s doing just fine. Her bravery even encouraged another one of her followers to set aside skepticism for science.
“That made all the difference to me,” Antwiwaa said of agreeing to do the campaign. The busy blogger is quickly becoming a trusted source for vaccine information in her community– sharing facts that dispel rumors and misinformation about COVID-19.
Several other states including Chicago, Oklahoma City, San Jose, California, and New Jersey are also running similar campaigns.
Although there’s no way as of yet to gauge if the new campaign will make an impact, California-based company Xomad, who has been hired to help facilitate their statewide protocol hopes the initiative will lead the way to change.
“No one’s bashing anti-vaxxers over the head,” Xomad CEO Rob Perry said. “The last thing these trusted messengers want to do is polarize their followers. It’s their followers’ choice.”
Health officials say the micro and macro social media influencers could help to reach Gen Z and Millenials who often get their news from social media. They’re also a group being adversely impacted by the new highly transmissible strain.
The campaign comes shortly after Cash Money Records alum Juvenile was recruited by the dating app BLK to create a rendition of his song “Back That Thang Up”. The aim was to help fight against COVID-19’s grapple on the Black community in July. In the new and approved “Vax That Thang Up,” the rapper encouraged listeners to make a socially responsible decision to become vaccinated before engaging in romantic activities.
MADAMENOIRE reported on LIV club, which recently launched a vaccine pop-up site outside of the premiere Miami party destination to help encourage young club-goers to get vaccinated.
What do you think of this new initiative?