The Hong Kong government is reaching out to celebrities and influencers to be the face of the city’s vaccination program, an attempt to boost what so far has been disappointingly slow uptake of the jab.
“According to my understanding, the government is finding some KOLs [key opinion leaders] and artists to help,” Lam Ching-choi, a member of Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s cabinet, told the South China Morning Post.
SCMP’s Wednesday report comes after health expert Ho Pak-leung suggested that endorsements from popular figures, like Cantopop star Keung To, could help encourage more people to take the vaccine.
As of Tuesday, only around 989,700 people in Hong Kong had received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, representing less than 15% of the city’s population.
A vaccination rate of at least 70% is needed for herd immunity, experts say.
Hong Kong’s vaccination program has been met with skepticism among some sectors of society, especially young people with deep distrust of the government. On LIHKG, a popular pro-democracy forum, netizens say they would rather not travel than take the vaccine.
The hesitancy has also been fueled by health experts saying that the vaccine would lose significant effectiveness against mutant strains of COVID-19, which are more transmissible.