Tech platforms launch new interactive features to help boost vaccine uptake

Tech platforms Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are launching new interactive features to help boost vaccine uptake across the country.

From today [Friday 26 November], Facebook and Instagram users can update their profiles with a range of specially designed profile frames or stickers to show they have had their top up jab or intend to when eligible.

TikTok, who supported the vaccine drive by hosting a "grab-a-jab" event in London earlier this year, have also made stickers available for the public to use on their profiles.

On Monday [22 November], booster jabs opened to those aged 40-49 and now all those aged 40 and above who received their second dose at least six months ago can also get their booster jab at a walk in site. Appointments can also be also be pre-booked a month in advance.

This new drive aligns with the "Stop Covid-19 Hanging Around" campaign TV advert which has also launched today. The advert highlights how Covid-19 is breathed out in particles, and in enclosed spaces these particles can build up and become harder for others to avoid breathing them in. The advert shows how opening windows or doors regularly to let fresh air in helps disperse these particles and keeps others safe. 

Vaccines Minister, Maggie Throup said: 

Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defense across the country.

I urge everyone who is eligible - don't delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones."

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People are encouraged to come forward for their jabs as soon as they are eligible to get the best possible protection ahead of winter.

New data this week further highlighted how important the booster jab is. The first real-world study on the effectiveness of booster vaccines by the UK Health Security Agency shows top-up jabs boost protection back up to over 90% against symptomatic COVID-19 in adults aged over 50.

The findings shows that 2 weeks after receiving a booster dose, protection against symptomatic infection in adults aged 50 years and over was 93.1% in those with Oxford/AstraZeneca as their primary course and 94.0% for Pfizer-BioNTech.

Steve Hatch, Vice President Northern Europe, Meta, said:

Meta has worked closely with the NHS throughout the pandemic, donating advertising credits to help the NHS deliver life-saving messages to millions of people, and partnering with them on our 'Vaccine Profile Frames' which have been seen by 90% of people on Facebook in the UK.

We know from public health research that people are more likely to get vaccinated if they see others in their community doing so, and we've seen that when people see a friend share they have been vaccinated, it increases their perceptions that vaccines are safe. With winter around the corner we're updating the Vaccine Profile Frames so people can encourage their friends and family to get their critical booster jabs when they're eligible."

Rich Waterworth, General Manager TikTok UK & Europe, said:

As we approach a critical time for the NHS, we are proud to be continuing our support for the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

With the vaccine now available to younger people and the booster campaign in full swing, we're expanding our creative tools to allow users to put a new sticker on their videos expressing their support for the booster campaign and raising awareness of the vaccination effort.    It's been great to see the positive response to the vaccine initiative amongst our community so far. Our recent 'grabajab' event in London was a huge success and we continue to see fantastic engagement with our amazing medical creators on the platform."

The range of new graphics will be ready to use in five languages on social media from today (26 November) and will be available in 13 languages in the coming weeks so that people from communities across the UK can support the campaign.

Vaccines give high levels of protection but immunity reduces over time, particularly for older adults and at-risk groups, so it is vital that vulnerable people come forward to get their COVID-19 booster vaccine to top up their defenses.

The latest evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that protection against symptomatic disease falls from 65%, up to 3 months after the second dose, to 45% 6 months after the second dose for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Protection against hospitalization falls from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer/BioNTech.

Although the vaccine effectiveness against severe disease remains high, a small change can generate a major shift in hospital admissions. For example, a change from 95% to 90% protection against hospitalization would lead to doubling of admissions in those vaccinated.

The booster program is designed to top up this waning immunity.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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