Could micro‑influencers help counter vaccine hesitancy?

Mass vaccination is crucial if we are to end the coronavirus pandemic, but many people are hesitating. Research suggests micro‑influencer marketing could be a powerful way to encourage vaccine uptake.

Americans who have tested
positive for the virus:

~29 million

Americans who have received at least
one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine:

~60 million

In March 2021, one year into the pandemic, more Americans had received at least one vaccine dose than had tested positive for the virus.1

Total vaccination doses
administered per 100 people

One dose may not equal a fully vaccinated person.

At the same time, around the world, more than 300 million doses had been administered across more than 100 countries.2

Global survey of
potential acceptance
of a COVID-19 vaccine

But there’s still more work to be done to adequately contain this virus. While most people around the world say they will get a COVID-19 vaccine once they’re able to, a large percentage are hesitating.3

To increase vaccine uptake, celebrities and influential figures — presidents, royals, actors, and TV personalities — are publicly sharing when they get vaccinated.

But researchers think there might be an even more effective way of encouraging people to get vaccinated: using micro-influencers.

The results?

“Those who were exposed to the micro-influencer campaign were more likely to receive the flu vaccination and report positive flu vaccination perceptions.”

In 2020, researchers carried out a study to understand how effective micro-influencers could be at encouraging their followers to get a flu shot.

“To effectively reach groups that show lower flu vaccination rates, national or large-scale flu campaigns must take a ground-up, rather than top-down, approach.”

The researchers concluded that drawing on micro-influencers was an effective way to encourage vaccinations, especially for people who have reservations.

Health care workers are already sharing their stories, explaining why they got vaccinated and what side effects they’ve experienced, and encouraging others to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn.

It’s a trend that could be especially effective at getting the facts to those who have questions, and encouraging those who are still on the fence to go out and get vaccinated as soon as they can.


Editor, Think with Google


Designer: Kate McManus; Product Lead: Casey Fictum; Production Lead: Jenny Maughan.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID Data Tracker, 2021.
Our World in Data, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations, 2021.
Nature Medicine, Extended Data Fig. 1: ‘If a COVID-19 Vaccine Is Proven Safe and Effective and Is Available, I Will Take It,’ Oct. 2020.