Social media app Nextdoor groups with Moderna, Albertsons to spice up vaccination charges in communities

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Nextdoor, a local social media app, is looking to leverage community influencers to help boost Covid-19 vaccine efforts in the U.S. as vaccination rates soften across the country.

The app, which acts as a digital public message board for neighborhoods, teamed up with drugmaker Moderna and Albertsons Companies grocery stores on a Covid-19 vaccine map, which launched Tuesday. The map will allow users to locate vaccination sites and schedule an appointment.

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

The initiative comes just as the Biden White House announced it will not reach its goal of getting at least one vaccine dose in the arm of 70% of American adults by July 4. While the administration expects to hit that mark for adults 26 years and older, the shortcoming would exist among younger adults.

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

While traditional social media sites like Instagram tend to leverage celebrity users as influencers, the more intimate Nextdoor app plans to utilize hyperlocal people, such as pastors or high school football coaches, to convince people to get vaccinated against the virus.

“It’s actually the people near and dear that are in local proximity to you, the people you trust, the people you talk to every day, and it’s often not about them telling you the ‘why’ to do it,” said Friar, who departed Square to join Nextdoor at the end of 2018. “It’s telling you that they have done it, and that’s what gives people confidence.”

The app is used in more than 11 countries and 276,000 localities around the world, including almost 1 in 3 U.S. households, according to the company.