he Government has launched a Snapchat filter in a bid to motivate young people to get their Covid booster jabs.
The filter on the popular social media platform is part of a new advertising drive targeted at 18 to 34-year-olds, whose uptake of the top-up vaccine is lagging behind other age groups.
Only 57% of that cohort in England have received their booster, compared with more than 80% of eligible adults.
I know that young people can often think they are invincible, but I am seeing more and more young people in hospital with Covid-19
The filter, which features a rocket and the words “I’ve had my Covid booster vaccine”, can be added to photos and videos posted to Snapchat from Friday.
Stickers are also available.
Viewers can tap on a link in the filter to get more information about vaccines and where they can book an appointment.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “More than nine in 10 over-50s have already received their top-up and we’re calling on young people to play their part and Get Boosted Now.
“Vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness from Omicron and will help keep you and your loved ones safe.”
Dr Kishan Bodalia, a frontline A&E doctor and DJ, said: “I know that young people can often think they are invincible, but I am seeing more and more young people in hospital with Covid-19, with the vast majority of people in hospital being unvaccinated.”
The Government previously partnered with Snapchat, as well as fellow social media giants Reddit TikTok and YouTube, last summer to raise vaccination awareness among young people.
Snapchat’s senior director of international public policy, Stephen Collins, said: “With Snapchat reaching 75% of 13-34-year-olds in the UK, we believe we can play a unique role in helping young people access accurate and trusted information.”
He added: “We hope our new Snapchat vaccine booster filter will encourage our community to protect themselves and others.”
The expanded vaccine drive has also featured pop-up sites at nightclubs, football stadiums and shopping centres operating alongside thousands of permanent NHS centres.
In 2020, the Government agreed new measures with social media sites to limit the spread of false information.