AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education, has launched a new video contest for children in Maine to encourage vaccination against COVID-19, following the federal recommendation of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11.
DHHS and DOE are inviting Maine youth ages 5 to 17 to submit 30-second videos that they believe will encourage other children, along with their parents, to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This can be, for example, information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine or the impact of not vaccinating.
The deadline for submission is Monday, November 22, 6:00 PM. Information on how to submit an entry is available online at maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/kids-contest.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday 1 December. The selection criteria included originality and clarity of message, consistency with public health information on youth vaccination and the potential to reach unvaccinated groups.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention will promote the winning videos through public service announcements and on social media.
In addition, the school that the winners will attend will receive $50,000 for the first-place winner, $25,000 for the second-place winner, and $10,000 for the third-place winner. Schools can use the profits to supplement school lunches with healthy treats; purchase of playground equipment, classrooms, gymnasiums, sports or music equipment; improve a special school activity; or support a school field trip for all students.
“With this safe and effective vaccine now available for children as young as 5 years old, Maine has an even greater chance of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and turning the tide of this pandemic,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambre and Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah, according to a DHHS press release. “We invite Maine children to help us spread the benefits of vaccination and look forward to their ideas on how best to reach their friends, parents and communities.”
Kids can create the video submissions on their own or as part of a school activity. Participation is limited to residents of Maine. Winners will need a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.
The prize gains are being supported by the federally funded Maine DHHS Coronavirus Relief Fund, which has been the source of funds for past Maine COVID-19 vaccine booster programs.
The video contest is part of Maine DHHS and Maine CDC’s broader plan to make vaccine available to children ages 5 to 11, following the U.S. CDC’s Nov. 2 recommendation of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group. About 96,000 Maine children between the ages of 5 and 11 are now eligible for vaccination. DHHS is setting up action plans with health care providers, pharmacies, schools and other partners to make the vaccine available to this age group this week and in the coming days and weeks.
COVID-19 vaccines are available for free at locations across the state.
For information about getting a vaccine, visit maine.gov or call the Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111.