TikTok has announced a range of new initiatives to help raise awareness, and increase take-up, of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of World Immunization Week.
First off, TikTok is encouraging users to share their reasons for getting the vaccination by using the hashtag #VaccinatedFor, in order to inspire others to also get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Users can share their stories by using the #VaccinatedFor hashtag, which will be featured on the app's Discover page throughout the week.
TikTok's also hosting a live-stream with Katherine O'Brien, the Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals for the World Health Organization, on Thursday April 29th. O'Brien will answer user questions about the vaccine and address concerns.
TikTok is also partnering with NowThis to launch a new, five-part live series called VIRAL, which aims to educate people about the science behind COVID-19 vaccines to help close the information gap, and reduce vaccine hesitancy.
Tune in to our new TikTok live show VIRAL on Thursdays at 6pm ET with host @kinggutterbaby♬ original sound - nowthis
TikTok also notes that it's continually improving its detection and removal process for vaccine misinformation.
"We strive to swiftly identify and remove misinformation related to COVID-19, and the vast majority of misleading videos about the coronavirus are removed within 24 hours of upload, as detailed in our last Transparency Report. We're making important investments in new detection mechanisms as we work to close this gap and improve our efficacy."
This is another key element, with TikTok, like every platform, being used to share content that speculates on the make-up of vaccines, amplifying concerns around the associated risks.
To reiterate, the World Health Organization, along with each regional health authority, has tested and assessed every vaccine option, and has ruled that each is safe for use, within any communicated parameters.
As per the WHO:
"Take whatever vaccine is made available to you first, even if you have already had COVID-19. It is important to be vaccinated as soon as possible once it’s your turn and not wait. Approved COVID-19 vaccines provide a high degree of protection against getting seriously ill and dying from the disease, although no vaccine is 100% protective."
The risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccine are far lower than the risks of actually contracting the virus, and the only way we're going to be able to return to a level of normalcy is by maximizing vaccine take-up.
With its reach and resonance growing, among younger audiences in particular, TikTok now has an important role to play within this process, so it's good to see the platform taking a lead in boosting these initiatives.