Vaccine selfies: An unexpected public health campaign
Open up any social media app, and more than likely, you’ll come across a picture of a familiar white CDC vaccine card, a selfie featuring an “I’m Vaccinated!” sticker, or even a photo featuring a healthcare worker administering a vaccine. Vaccines symbolize the long-awaited end of the pandemic for many, although it still continues. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and know this is a small victory. The natural response to a victory? A celebration.
These vaccine selfies and posts have received criticism from many corners of the internet. Some say vaccine pictures show your privilege, that you were lucky enough to receive a dose, while others scour appointment websites, pharmacies, and vaccine locations. Some have labeled celebratory vaccine posts as insensitive bragging because not everyone is eligible yet. In an article published by CNN, Karen Kovacs North, professor of digital social media at the University of Southern California, said "In this case, it also has a feeling of status, as access to the vaccine is limited."
Public figures, health care professionals, and celebrities have also joined in the trend hoping to spark a conversation amongst people who are eligible but choose to not receive the vaccine. The issue is that people who are waiting to be eligible can take offense, but they are not the intended audience. These posts are meant to show the unsure or the on-the-fence friends audience that we got the vaccine and we’re okay.
There’s no one more influential than someone in your inner circle, like a family member or friend you trust. Many people lack trust in big corporations, politicians, and the government. The most convincing argument against those concerns is your personal experience. If someone you’re close with and trust greatly gets a vaccine there’s a little bit less worry there.
Don’t worry about what others think, post your vaccine photo. If your posts lead to even one family member or friend getting a vaccine who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten it, you’ve helped make a difference. You can combat the horror stories, the exaggerated Facebook posts (with thousands of shares), and the extremist articles if you simply share your selfie, celebrate, and carry on with your day.
By Emily Norwood
Emily was raised in Alaska, but considers herself a bay area native having lived there on and off before college. Emily is a third-year student at San Diego State University, where she is majoring in Public Relations and minoring in History. When she’s not in class, she works as a nanny and can often be found chasing the kids through Balboa Park. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in PR for a corporate company in the Bay Area.