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Social networks, celebrities and UK institutions help boost vaccine momentum

The Premier League and the Beano have been enlisted alongside celebrities including Zandra Rhodes and Brian Blessed to boost the vaccine roll out on social media.

A range of new Facebook frames and Instagram Gif graphics have been launched with the backing of British institutions, allowing users to show “I’ve had my vaccine” or pledge “I’ll get my vaccine” on their profiles.

Artwork featuring the NHS, the Premier League, cartoons from children’s Beano as well as illustrations by artist Charlie Mackesy will be available as part of the initiative.

It comes as the UK’s jab count passed 16.4 million on Thursday for first doses.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

“It’s truly remarkable how quickly we are meeting our vaccine rollout targets and so protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities,” said Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock.

“The pace and progress of the rollout is testament to the way such a huge team has pulled together to support each other through this pandemic, and the tremendous national effort of our NHS workers, volunteers, local partners and the armed forces.

“We know people are turning to social media more than ever to stay in touch with family and friends.

“These new graphics will make it easy for people to share their support for the jab and thank the NHS – whether that’s to mark the pivotal moment that they get their vaccine, or pledge to get it when it’s their turn.

“It’s been inspiring to hear the stories of people getting their jab across all four corners of the UK and it’s vital we keep up this momentum.”

Brian Blessed among the celebrities taking part in the campaign
Brian Blessed is among the celebrities taking part in the campaign (Yui Mok/PA)

The vaccination programme will be extended to more groups in the coming months, as the Government aims to offer a jab to everyone over the age of 50 by May, and all adults by September.

“We’re promoting these unique profile frames and GIFs to all UK Facebook and Instagram users to raise vital vaccine confidence and we’re giving free advertising credits to the NHS so they can reach the public with their campaign,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“I got my vaccine this week and feel proud and grateful to the NHS for all their hard work so I want to show my support in whatever way I can.”

Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s primary care director, added: “I’ve seen first-hand the enthusiasm for being protected when vaccinating people against coronavirus, and it’s great people have a new way of showing support for the rollout online – it’s vital everyone is confident to have the vaccine when it is their turn to do so.

“Vaccines are safe, simple and effective, and word of mouth is a great way of communicating that message so that our friends, family, and loved ones are encouraged to take up the jab.”