As of early December, vaccinations rates in New Bedford remain some of the lowest in the state, while daily cases of COVID-1 infections continue to rise. Now, the City's health department, along with several community organizations, have a youth challenge to try and change that.

The New Bedford Public Schools Facebook page announced the Youth Vaccine Challenge, where residents of New Bedford ages 12-24 are incentivized with cash and prizes to create content that promotes getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

For children ages 12 and older, the COVID-19 vaccine has been available since May 2021. Yet the percentage of New Bedford youth ages 12-19 that actually has received at least one dose of the vaccine remains at five percent. For those between 20-29, the percentage vaccinated jumps to 14 percent. Both are numbers that city health officials feel is too low as we head into the holidays, so they are hoping their challenge helps.

Essentially, the challenge encourages kids to create content that promotes youth COVID-19 vaccinations and then uses that content to reach other kids in the city and encourage them to get vaccinated. It is a joint effort from Act Now Impact, the New Bedford Health Department, Immigrants' Assistance Center and Vaccination Connect. Submissions must be direct messaged to @Act.Now.Impact on Instagram by this Thursday, December 9.

Once all the entries are in, @Act.Now.Impact will share the photos and videos throughout they day on December 9 and winners will be determined by the numbers of likes they receive. Winners will be announced December 10 and the grand prize is $200 with second place getting $100.

New Bedford youth that plan to enter must themselves have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and be a New Bedford resident between the ages of 12-24. See the full list of contest rules here.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.