September 28, 2023

Nextdoor, a local social media app, is trying to use community influencers to fuel Covid-19 vaccine efforts in the US as vaccination rates drop across the country.

The app, which acts as a digital public message board for neighborhoods, has partnered with drug maker Moderna and the Albertsons Companies’ grocery stores on a Covid-19 vaccine card released Tuesday. The card allows users to find vaccination sites and make an appointment.

“One of the things we know about neighborhoods is … finding the right influencer is key to penetrating into that neighbor’s psyche and perhaps getting them to change their mind,” said Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar in an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

The initiative comes after the Biden White House announced that it will fail to achieve its goal of at least one vaccine dose in the arms of 70% of American adults by July 4th. While the government expects to hit this mark for adults aged 26 and over, the shortcoming would apply to younger adults.

In a survey of Nextdoor users, the private company found that 37% of its members would sign up for a jab if they had access to more information and encouragement, Friar said.

While traditional social media sites like Instagram tend to use celebrity users as influencers, the more intimate Nextdoor app plans to use hyperlocal people like pastors or high school soccer coaches to convince people to vaccinate against the virus allow.

“Actually, it’s the people who are close to you, the people you trust, the people you talk to every day, and it’s often not about them telling you why “Said Friar, who was leaving Square to join Nextdoor in late 2018. “It tells you they did, and that gives people confidence.”

The app is used in more than 11 countries and 276,000 locations around the world, including nearly 1 in 3 US households, according to the company.