Press Release: Covid vaccine scientists open up on TikTok
#TeamHalo is an effort by researchers and clinicians around the world to build confidence in the global race for safe vaccines
October 20th, 2020 – London. Top scientists involved in the race for a coronavirus vaccine have turned to social media to tell their stories in a new global initiative launched today. #TeamHalo sees researchers and clinicians taking to TikTok, Twitter and Instagram to bring the public into their work and build confidence in the vaccine development process.
#TeamHalo sets out to shine a light on the everyday working lives of scientists working on the leading vaccines in the UK, USA, South Africa, India and Brazil, all of whom have volunteered to post videos that highlight their efforts to curb the pandemic.
Dr Anna Blakney is a bioengineer at the frontline of Covid-19 vaccine development at Imperial College in London. She said;
“We are pioneering a new type of vaccine against Covid-19 in human clinical trials, and I’m excited to share some of the incredible science and people involved in my work. I’m used to spending time pipetting samples and analyzing data. TikTok is a new frontier for me but I’m enthusiastic about demystifying our work and making it accessible to the world.”
#TeamHalo will also allow scientists to respond to questions from the public and directly counter some of the vaccine misinformation and rumours spreading in parts of the internet.
Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, said;
“Rampant misinformation has undermined public trust in vaccines. Team Halo is about reclaiming that trust. These are incredible people doing exciting science as part of a global collaboration. We should be celebrating them helping us get to the end of this awful pandemic.”
Heidi Larson, Founder of the Vaccine Confidence Project, and an expert in building trust in vaccines, said;
“Creating confidence in the vaccine requires building empathy and trust with people who may have concerns over the safety of the vaccine and the speed at which it has been developed. Team Halo allows scientists to explain the latest cutting-edge science that will lead us out of this pandemic, while showing them to be normal, caring human beings like the rest of us.”
Scientists participating in #TeamHalo, known as ‘Guides’, are keen to emphasise the global nature of their work and recognise the contribution made by thousands around the world.
Dr Shiv Pillai, Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences & Technology at Harvard Medical School, said;
“Science is a universal endeavour. We hear a lot about the efforts of individual countries to find a vaccine, but the reality is that this has always been a global effort. Whether it’s the international teams working in any given laboratory or the collaboration across borders since the first days of this crisis, we have been trying to stop this virus together.”
TikTok was chosen as the primary partner, as it enables researchers to tell educational stories in a creative and engaging way, making complex science appealing to diverse audiences of different ages.
Matthew Harris, Head of CSR and TikTok for Good, Europe said,
“At a time when doctors and scientists around the world are working tirelessly to inform the public about the dangers of COVID-19 and their progress towards a vaccine, we welcome the use of #TeamHalo as a way to share content on the subject through TikTok. TikTok allows for positive and creative expression and can help these everyday heroes educate and reach people in an engaging way while also helping our community stay safe and informed during these challenging times.”
For further information and interview requests contact;
Patrick Fuller, Press Officer mobile:+44 7377730878 email:
- #TeamHalo is supported by the United Nations Verified Initiative, the Vaccine Confidence Project and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance
- Participating scientists – called Guides – can be found at https://teamhalo.org/
- and followed on their social media channels. All participants are volunteers and new institutions and new Guides will be joining every week
- Sample TikTok posts by individual Guides can be found here
- ‘Halo’ refers to the ring of connected science that spans the globe