As more Oklahomans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department is taking a creative approach to getting the word out.
Instead of using doctors, scientists, or health care workers to promote getting vaccinated, the OCCHD is turning to influencers to get the message across.
"You follow people because you trust what they're saying," said the OCCHD's Public Information Officer, Molly Fleming.
The department is using the reach of local Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube influencers.
"The goal is we hope that you would trust them with their advice on the vaccine as well," said Fleming.
This is the second time the health department is pushing its message out through paid social media posts. The first time being at the end of last year, to try and deter people from gathering and traveling for the holidays. Fleming said it worked.
"We reached 55% of Oklahoma County residents who are aged 13 to 45 which is huge. We reached more than 200,000 people," she explained.
This time, the influencer campaign is aimed at people 18 to 35 years old; a group Fleming said has some hesitations about the shots.
"Our generation is not used to having your emergency vaccine. We haven't seen this roll out before," Fleming said. "That's the group that goes to concerts and loves to go out and eat at brunch and they're doing those things around a ton of people and so it's crucial for them to get vaccinated."
There are about 35 influencers on board with the campaign so far. They range in age, race and gender, with hopes of casting the widest net of followers.
Influencers involved are getting paid, but Fleming said that's not their only motivation.
"We have a lot of people who are excited to spread this message because they're ready to get back to talking about going to things and having other stuff to talk about besides going to the grocery store and having great lounge wear," said Fleming.
OCCHD said they review all content before it's posted, and you'll know it's from them because they will be tagged in each post.