Universities Are Offering Students Paid Internships to Be Vaccine ‘Influencers’

Michael, a 16-year-old teenager, receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at Clalit Health Services, in Israel's Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on January 23, 2021. - Israel began administering novel coronavirus vaccines to teenagers as it pushed ahead with its inoculation drive, with a quarter of …
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Students can now become paid coronavirus vaccine “influencers” through the Student Social Media Engagement Campaign, which is recruiting students to “help combat vaccine misinformation and build vaccine confidence within their campus communities” on social media.

Universities are offering paid internships to students who push coronavirus vaccines. The campaign is in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College Health Association (ACHA), and Youth Marketing Connection (YMC).

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) recently announced the internship opportunity, which is part of the ACHA’s broader “CoVAC initiative,” designed to increase vaccinations on campuses, and includes $3,000 mini-grants for colleges seeking to tout the vaccine.

In its announcement, the university said it will be “hiring passionate student leaders at UNLV to serve as influencers and ambassadors.”

“In this role, they’ll help combat vaccine misinformation and build vaccine confidence within their campus communities,” UNLV explained. “Student influencer efforts will be focused on encouraging their peers to get vaccinated prior to the fall term beginning by using social media channels.”

“Once students are back on campus, influencers and ambassadors will continue to promote vaccine confidence through social media and by hosting on-campus events,” the university added.

In the “skills and experience” section, the school notes it is looking for students who are “interested in science, public health, and social justice.”

Once accepted as a vaccine influencer, students will be responsible for creating “informative lifestyle-related social media posts and content on Instagram and TikTok,” and must “report key findings about your campus’ COVID-19 vaccine attitudes,” among other responsibilities.

The school even says that students involved in the initiative will “gain resume-building experience, create engaging social media content, and contribute to bettering your community,” as well as “receive access to a cash stipend and bonus opportunities.”

The University of Cincinnati also revealed its participation in the initiative by featuring a student ambassador on its website.

Moreover, the University of Missouri hired five students to become “COVID-19 safety” influencers last fall, according to Columbia Missourian.

The school, which is funded by taxpayers, also reportedly paid $10,300 to the Canadian company Glacier — which specializes in high school and student advertising — to run the project.

Meanwhile, at the University of Miami, 75 students were hired to serve as “Public Health Ambassadors,” and were placed in high-traffic areas of campus, where they reminded fellow students to follow coronavirus-related orders, reported News@TheU.

“We are becoming recognized now by our shirts,” one student ambassador told News@TheU. “So, when they see me approach, I don’t even have to tell someone to do something — they automatically see me, and they’ll fix their mask or something.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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