Teens urged to get COVID vaccine, Santa Clara Co. launches video contest

Seventy-five percent of 12 to 17 year olds in Santa Clara County are vaccinated. Health officials want that number higher so to encourage more teenagers to get the COVID vaccine, the county is launching a contest to win some cash. The goal is to create a short video urging other teens to get the vaccine.

Health officials hope this idea will boost the vaccination rate among young people, who currently lag behind other age groups.

Some videos have music and animation. Other videos people are dressed up in costumes and reciting poems.

These videos Santa Clara County public health officials want to go viral. It’s part of the county’s new VaxUp Video contest.

"Kids are going to listen to other kids," said Santa Clara County Public Health Assistant Health Officer Dr. Monika Roy. "We also think kids have a phenomenal way of creating creative messaging."

It’s open to all middle and high school students in Santa Clara County.  Health officials ask the videos be short 30 to 60 seconds and be posted on Instagram and TikTok under the #SCCVaxUpVideo.

The idea came from a successful model where young people informed peers about STD’s.

"I guess we are in a modern era where we do things like TikTok and Instagram so I think that’s kind of novel," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, UCSF Infectious Disease Expert.

Santa Clara County youth ages 12 to 17 have the lowest vaccination rate compared to other age groups. Right now, the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for 12 to 15 year olds but not fully approved.

"Many parents have gotten vaccinated and it’s great," said Dr. Gandhi. "For children, they want to wait a little longer to see more data."

Dr. Gandhi also said, parents don’t think mask mandates in schools will be lifted once children get the vaccine so many don’t see the point.

"It’s really important to our family because we are able to protect the people we love," said 13-year-old James Hayes of Morgan Hill.

The Hayes brothers are vaccinated. All three children took part in this video where they act and speak Spanish.

Alex Xiao and his sister Emily both submitted videos with animation and text.

"Some of our friends watched it and said wow this is really cool," said 11-year-old Emily Xiao of San Jose.

The two already feel like winners. Emily’s video has gotten at least 65 views.

"Wow that’s 65 people, that’s two times my classroom that have seen the video and that’s actually really cool," said 14-year-old Alex Xiao of San Jose. "If there’s any impact, I always feel that’s going to be a good thing."

Prizes range from $500 to $1,500. The deadline to submit is Nov. 15. For more information on the contest visit: https://covid19.sccgov.org/covid-19-vaxup-video-contest-2021

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at azenith.smith@fox.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.