MAINE, USA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education, has launched a new video competition for Maine children to encourage COVID-19 vaccination, following federal recommendation of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
Maine DHHS and DOE said in a release that Maine kids ages 5 to 17 are eligible to submit 30-second videos that they believe will help encourage other children to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This could include, for example, information on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy or the impact of not getting vaccinated.
According to Maine DHHS, the school that the winners 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 winnings to supplement school meals with healthy treats; purchase playground, classroom, gym, sports, or music equipment; enhance a special school activity; or support a school field trip for all students, according to Maine DHHS.
The deadline for submission is 6 p.m. on Nov. 22. Information on submitting an entry is available here. The winners will be announced on Dec. 1.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention plans to promote the winning videos through public service announcements and on social media.
“With this safe and effective vaccine now available to children as young as 5, Maine has an even greater opportunity to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and turn the tide on this pandemic,” Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah said in a release. “We invite Maine children to help us spread the word about the benefits of vaccination and look forward to their ideas about how to best reach their friends, parents, and communities.”
According to Maine DHHS, the selection criteria include originality and clarity of the message, consistency with public health information on youth vaccination, and potential to reach unvaccinated groups, among others.
Maine DHHS said children can produce the video submissions on their own or as part of a school activity. Participation is limited to Maine residents. Winners will need to have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian, according to Maine DHHS.
The prize winnings are supported by the federally-funded Coronavirus Relief Fund at Maine DHHS, which was the source of funds for previous COVID-19 vaccine incentive programs in Maine.
The video competition is part of Maine DHHS and Maine CDC’s broader plan to make vaccine available to children ages 5 to 11, following Tuesday’s recommendation from the U.S. CDC of the Pfizer vaccine for this age group.
Maine DHHS said about 96,000 Maine children between the ages of 5 and 11 are now eligible for vaccination.