The Omicron variant has thrown a spanner in the works regarding the UK’s response to COVID-19, with the country undergoing another spike and raising the Covid alert level. Yet despite the virus running rampant, not enough people have opted to take the booster jab, which gives a further immunity boost to those who have already had the first two vaccines.
20 million doses of the booster have already been administered in the UK, but now the government has made uptake available to everyone over 18 (and not just select age groups), it’s more important than ever that a high percentage of those who are eligible for the vaccine decide to take it.
The government has launched campaigns in conjunction with social media platforms and TV to encourage further uptake.
Social media features
As part of the initiative, the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok launched additional features. These include optional profile picture frames for Facebook and stickers for TikTok profiles, both of which allow users to show others that they’re doing their part to fight the pandemic.
The features became active on 26 November, and since then, 90% of Facebook users have seen the frames on the social media site (according to a Meta representative).
Social media campaigns help to maximize uptake by providing social proof — when people see that their families and friends have done something, they’re more likely to feel pressure or responsibility to do the same thing.
Around the same time the social media features were introduced, the government rolled out a TV ad campaign called “Stop Covid-19 Hanging Around.”
The campaigns educate the public about how particles build up in enclosed spaces, making it easier for people to breathe them in, and encouraging people to let more air in to reduce this problem.
A combination of strategies are needed to minimize the effect of the disease and its variants.
Winter is coming
As winter approaches, the colder weather means that Covid cases are expected to continue increasing. It’s more important than ever that the UK can maximize uptake of the booster, and social media is the perfect way to reach new demographics and provide social proof.
Hopefully, in a few months’ time, the cases will begin to fall thanks to the actions outlined above..