State health departments are using the Chinese Communist Party-linked social media platform TikTok to encourage children as young as 12 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In West Michigan, Kalamazoo County’s Health and Community Services Department is specifically using the app to “better reach people ages 12 to 29 years old.”
Lyndi Warner, public information officer for the department, reveals the platform is being used to target the young demographic: “When we look at who’s being vaccinated and where are we wanting to make those strides… the 12- to 29-year-old age group is where we really wanted to try and focus in on.”
“We are seeing these videos do really well so far. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well that they’re doing,” she added.
The Alabama Department of Health (ADH) also sponsored a contest on TikTok for individuals aged 13 to 29 to “encourage vaccination against COVID-19 before the beginning of the school year.”
“To participate, contestants are to submit a TikTok video showing themselves getting vaccinated or include a creative message explaining, “This is why I got vaccinated.” All videos must tag @alcovidvaccine, #getvaccinatedAL and #ADPH. […] A panel of judges composed of advertising professionals and ADPH personnel will select four winners who will each be awarded a $250 Visa gift card,” a contest summary continues.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance employs former Chinese Communist Party officials, including individuals with military ties, to executive roles and grants party members preferential treatment in hiring processes. Its founder has also pledged to use ByteDance to “promote socialist core values” and devotion to the Chinese
The app’s threat to national security and data privacy prompted the Trump administration to attempt to ban the platform from operating in the U.S. – an effort recently quashed by the Biden White House.