TikTok bid to encourage Suffolk teenagers to Grab the Jab

Doctore Parikh with the Pfizer vaccine Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Suffolk health chiefs are using social media to dispel myths around Covid vaccines for teenagers - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Health chiefs in Suffolk are taking to TikTok and Instagram to dispel some of the myths around the Covid vaccines in the hope of encouraging more teenagers to get the jab.

It is feared that the 12-15 age group are more susceptible to false information around the vaccines - particularly fertility issues - and to counter that health bosses have launched a campaign to direct then to more trusted sources of information.

Simon Morgan, head of communications for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, spoke at  Friday’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board, and said: “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 TikTok and Instagram channels, which have been proven to be very successful.

“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.

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble 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."