Teens urged for COVID vaccine, Santa Clara Co. launches video contest


Seventy-five percent of 12 to 17 year olds in Santa Clara County are vaccinated. Health officials want that number to be higher, so to encourage more teens to get the COVID vaccine, the county is running a competition to win money. The goal is to create a short video urging other teens to get vaccinated.

Health officials hope the idea will increase vaccination rates among young people, who currently lag behind other age groups.

Some videos contain music and animation. Other videos, people are in disguise and recite poems.

These videos, Santa Clara County public health officials want to go viral. This is part of the county’s new VaxUp video contest.

“The kids are going to listen to other kids,” said Dr. Monika Roy, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer. “We also think kids have a phenomenal way of creating creative messages.”

It is open to all middle and high school students in Santa Clara County. Health officials are calling for the videos to be 30-60 seconds short and posted to Instagram and TikTok under #SCCVaxUpVideo.

The idea came from a successful model where young people educated their peers about STDs.

“I guess we’re in a modern age where we do things like TikTok and Instagram, so I think it’s a bit new,” said Dr Monica Gandhi, infectious disease expert at UCSF.

Youth in Santa Clara County between the ages of 12 and 17 have the lowest immunization rate compared to other age groups. At present, the Pfizer vaccine is licensed for 12 to 15 year olds but is not fully approved.

“A lot of parents have been vaccinated and it’s great,” said Dr Gandhi. “For kids, they want to wait a little longer to see more data.”

Dr Gandhi also said parents don’t think the mask warrants in schools will be lifted once children receive the vaccine, so many don’t see the point.

“It’s really important to our family because we are able to protect the people we love,” said James Hayes, 13, of Morgan Hill.

The Hayes brothers are vaccinated. The three children participated in this video where they play and speak Spanish.

Alex Xiao and his sister Emily both submitted videos with animation and text.

“Some of our friends looked at it and said wow that’s really cool,” said Emily Xiao, 11, of San Jose.

Both already feel they are winners. Emily’s video got at least 65 views.

“Wow, it’s 65 people, twice my class saw the video and it’s really cool,” said Alex Xiao, 14, of San Jose. “If there is an impact, I still think it will be a good thing.”

Prices range from $ 500 to $ 1,500. The deadline for submission is November 15th. For more information on the competition, visit: https://covid19.sccgov.org/covid-19-vaxup-video-contest-2021

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.

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