'Left -field' campaign featuring Primark, Tiktok and influencers in drive to boost covid vaccine uptake among young people in Hartlepool

A “left -field” campaign featuring “influencers” and a stark message on freedom is on its way amid worry the vaccine message isn’t getting through to younger people in Hartlepool.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 10:45 am
Health chiefs are to try innovative new approaches to getting more young people vaccinated

A health and wellbeing board heard of jabs approaching their expiry date due to problems getting enough young people to come forward.

Leaders at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust board heard 66 covid positive patients were being treated on wards on Thursday, July 29 – with those aged 25 to 34 being seen in the highest numbers.

Chief executive Julie Gillon told members a “left -field” campaign was on its way in the region to get the message out to younger people.

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Trust official Barbara Bright revealed the push would be called: “this is not our freedom” following restrictions being relaxed on so-called ‘Freedom Day’ in July.

It’s understood the campaign will see younger health staff donned in PPE superimposed over nightclubs, shops, pubs and football stadia in the region with the message: “This is not our freedom – and until you are vaccinated, there isn’t real freedom”.

Ms Bright said: “It’s going out to those areas and making it a very visual campaign around where we’re targeting – nightclubs, Primark, and places we know the younger population will be to get that message out.

“We’ll use various different forums and means to do that.”

Board members heard how influencers, Newcastle United players, and social media channels such as Tiktok, were also planned to be used in the programme in a fresh approach.

Ms Bright said she hoped radical new ideas would see a boost in uptake among those who have so far been reluctant to book in for covid jabs.

She added: “It’s certainly an innovative approach and something different.

“But there are lots of approaches which have been taken which obviously aren’t working.”

Earlier, the panel had heard how two-thirds of covid patients treated on trust wards in June and July had not been vaccinated.

However, Ms Gillon told the board how lengths of hospital stays were shorter than those seen in previous waves.

Ms Bright also pointed to wider efforts to “take vaccines to the people” and new pop-up centres offering jabs without appointments.

“It’s whether we need to go outside of Primark, or whether we need to go outside known pubs at certain times of the day,” she added.

“Where they’ve done that over the last week has been quite successful.

“There are a number of different approaches we need to take but there has certainly been massive support across the region on the campaign.”

Neighbouring South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust has also warned virus patients being seen are younger than in previous waves.

The Government made the North East and Tees Valley “enhanced response areas” in July, with the promise of more resources in response to relatively high infection rates.

Council chiefs have said they’ve still been working out what the status will entail and how it will help leaders stamp out covid hot spots.

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