The White House Is Using an “Influencer Army” to Get Young People Vaccinated

The line between social influencer and political organiser becomes increasingly obscured as The White House organises an “influencer army”; a campaign aimed at getting young people vaccinated.

Credit: Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

According to the New York Times, state and municipal governments are enlisting the aid of social influencer and regional celebrities, with some offering $1,000 per month incentives to urge their followers to be vaccinated.

A White House-Backed Campaign

In June, Ellie Zeiler, a 17-year-old TikTok artist with over 10 million followers, received an email from Village Marketing.

Credit: Cosmopolitan

Village Marketing are an influencer marketing agency. Now they’re acting on behalf of another party: The White House. The agency put forward an offer: Will Ms. Zeiler, a high school student who broadcasts short fashion and lifestyle videos, be willing to take partake in a White House-backed campaign? The campaign itself aims to capitalise on her audience, pushing her viewers to receive vaccination against the coronavirus.

“There is a massive need to grow awareness within the 12-18 age range,” Village Marketing wrote to Ms. Zeiler’s business email. “We’re moving fast and have only a few available slots to fill, so please let us know ASAP.”

Source: NY Times

Ms. Zeiler has become part of a broad, personality-driven effort to address an increasingly critical issue in the fight against the pandemic. That is, vaccinating younger age groups. These are the groups with the lowest immunisation rates of any eligible age group in the United States.

Government Initiatives

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than fifty per cent of Americans aged 18 to 39 are fully immunised, compared to more than two-thirds of those over the age of 50.

Credit: ABC News

In addition, almost 58 per cent of individuals aged 12 to 17 have not been in receipt of a vaccination at all. The White House has hired an eclectic army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers, TikTokers, and Olivia Rodrigo, an 18-year-old pop singer, to reach these young people.

State and municipal governments have launched similar initiatives. These involve paying “local micro influencers” — those with 5,000 to 100,000 followers — up to $1,000 per month to push Covid-19 vaccinations to their followers.

Fighting Vaccination Misinformation

Dozens of Twitch broadcasters, YouTubers, and TikTokers are now assisting the White House in its efforts to increase youth vaccination rates. President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease specialist, held a YouTube town hall in May.

The Town Hall featured make-up artist Manny MUA, wild-animal experts Brave Wilderness, and beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina. Together, they have over 28 million YouTube subscribers. The meeting brought up misinformation regarding vaccination and ways to appeal to younger generations regarding vaccination.

For further information, check out President Biden’s YouTube Town Hall below:

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