Instagram and Tik Tok attack launched to tackle Covid disinformation among 12-15 age group
A social media campaign on Tik Tok and Instagram has been launched in Suffolk to address disinformation around the Covid-19 vaccines for youngsters.
Concerns had been raised that the 12-15 age group, who are eligible for a single dose of the vaccine, could be more susceptible to false information around the jabs which circulates on social media.
Suffolk health and public sector services told Friday's Local Outbreak Engagement Board they have launched a campaign to tackle the issue and provide trusted sources of information.
Simon Morgan, head of communications for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said: "We have now launched our Tik Tok campaign which is aimed at signposting the 12-15 year-olds in particular to accurate sources of information on social media.
"We know there is a lot of misinformation on social media, a lot of hype, so we have now got a series of videos we are sharing out on our Tik Tok and Instagram channels, which have been proven to be very successful.
“These videos direct people to accurate sources of information relating to the Covid vaccination.
"We have done some more work around publicising our ask the expert events. We have held a number of these over the past six months focusing around students as they return to college and university in the area back in September, we have held one for 12-15 year-olds and we have also held an ask the expert event in relation to maternity, fertility and breastfeeding as well.
"We have also written out to schools, which has come from Stuart Keeble, which has been published to schools in the lead up and during half term, encouraging students and pupils to get their vaccination as well."
Mr Morgan said the team were also building up a bank of 12-15-year-old case studies they could use in campaigns to demonstrate the benefits of being jabbed for youngsters.
Suffolk has been designated an Enhanced Response Area (ERA), which brings additional national support to help support Covid-19 efforts.
That has included work in schools to drive up the 12-15 vaccination rate.
Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble, pictured above, said: "One of the areas we have been focusing on as part of the ERA is the 12-15 year-olds.
"We have had a challenging start [to vaccinations], that has been acknowledged in the press, so we have been working with our regional NHS colleagues who commission the service and school providers, taking our knowledge around schools from the county council and looking at what we can do to unblock some of those.
"We were behind the England average and we are now starting to pick up and accelerate across Suffolk.
"To do that we have been looking to find additional admin capacity to support delivery, we have been supporting and working with school leaders, and looking at what options we can do to extend the delivery of the vaccine in school hours, prioritising higher risk areas, and also our health colleagues have been working to stand up clinics to support young people to get their vaccinations in some of the other clinics rather than in just schools."
Simple graphics explaining who, when, where and how 12-15 year-olds can get the jab are set to be circulated on social media from this week.