Cousins and Sacred Heart Academy students Jacqueline Teague and Amelie Beck are the Co-Founders of VaxConnectKY, a service campaign they created to assist senior citizens with COVID-19 vaccine scheduling, transportation, and support. The girls realized a need for this type of assistance after helping their grandparents navigate the system.
Numerous organizations and publications have recognized and honored Jacqueline and Amelie throughout the last year and a half for their volunteer work. Most recently, People Magazine included the girls as part of their spread titled “Girls Changing the World in 2021,” which celebrates “young innovators and trailblazers making a difference in their communities and beyond.” People Magazine prints this piece each year in honor of the International Day of the Girl, October 11, 2021.
Other honors include:
The Diana Award: The Diana Award honors young people who work to improve the lives of others. This award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 can receive for their social action or humanitarian work and is named after Diana, Princess of Wales. The Duke of Sussex featured Jacqueline specifically in his tribute at the ceremony. Both girls were nominated, but the award is not given to groups or duos, so Jacqueline was the recipient.
Big Shot Award: Selected as the youngest recipients of the national “Big Shot” Award. The Big Shots campaign was developed by City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH). Its mission is to tell the stories of inspiring people across the country who used their ingenuity and determination to get others vaccinated. Big Shots celebrates the achievement of COVID-19 vaccination and hopes to inspire others to get involved. The campaign was developed by the CONVINCE USA initiative at CUNY SPH, with support from the CDC Foundation and the pro bono creative assistance of McCann Health.
Kentuckiana All-Star: Recognized by Governor Beshear as young leaders for Kentucky for their leadership with the VaxConnectKY campaign.
Congressional Record Recognition in the 117th Congress: Congratulated by U.S. Senator John Yarmouth as National leaders for the community through humanitarian work.
Sons of the Revolution Good Citizen’s Medal: Awarded National Medal for the service campaign.
As of October 2021, the two have helped more than 2,100 people get vaccinated through the program. They developed the concept of VaxConnectKY and marketed the effort in the local newspaper and on social media. They soon began receiving referrals from local hospitals, the KY Department of Health, and national drug chains.
Through VaxConnectKY, Jacqueline and Amelie have communicated with more than 3,000 people by phone and email to arrange vaccine appointments. They also created a business plan for groups in other states, including GA, CA, NE, and Washington D.C., to develop similar programs and provided recommendations to national/state/local government and lobbyists to simplify the vaccine registration process. The girls achieved all this while continuing their high school educations and extracurricular activities!
The girls have been featured in Scientific American and on CNET, CNN, Fox News, Tanks Good News, Teen Vogue, People Magazine, and local news stations.
They continue to manage the social media accounts for VaxConnectKY and promote vaccine awareness. The girls recently served as speakers at a national town hall promoting rural vaccination amongst a vaccine-hesitant population.
In addition to assisting with vaccine appointments, Jacqueline and Amelie also distributed N95 and KN95 masks to senior citizens and people in need in KY and other states and are piloting and planning for telehealth workshops and training sessions for senior citizens.
Amelie also volunteered to be a subject in the Pfizer Vaccine Pediatric Trial.