After more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the increase in the vaccination rollout shows a brighter side of the story, in the form of vaccine selfies.
In the time of social media, sharing images tends to be a powerful resource to encourage or discourage people to engage in certain activities. A vaccine selfie, a photograph that captures the memorable moment of someone finally receiving the long awaited COVID vaccine, is a meaningful way to promote vaccine awareness. Vaccine selfies are an important part of the vaccination process; they combat vaccine hesitancy and encourage the community to get vaccinated. They remind those who have not gotten vaccinated yet that they soon will.
Vaccine selfies help overcome vaccine hesitancy and combat the online misinformation that spreads fears about getting vaccinated. Distrust and misinformation about vaccines can spread quickly, slowing down the vaccination process. But vaccine selfies play an important role in spreading the message that vaccines are safe and effective.
On social media, we can see public figures, politicians, actors and celebrities getting vaccinated, as well as people close to us, like family and friends. Seeing people we know and trust get vaccinated encourages us to get our shot if we were hesitant in the beginning.
Getting vaccinated and posting a picture of oneself on social media, is a way of sharing that within our possibilities, we are contributing to ending the pandemic. We share the feeling of satisfaction on getting the vaccine and motivate others to participate in vaccination as well — motivating more and more people in this process.
The vaccine selfie represents a new sense of safety and our victory over the virus. However, these pictures are also a reminder of unequal access to vaccines; not everyone is able to claim victory over the virus yet. While immunization campaigns expand in some provinces and countries, equal access to vaccines remains limited in many places. This situation creates a divide between those who got the vaccine and can happily post a picture getting vaccinated, and those who cannot get their shot yet and might feel left out and more vulnerable to the virus.
Even when it is not possible for some people to get vaccinated yet, vaccine selfies encourage us to wait patiently for our turn, and make our appointment as soon as we are eligible to. These selfies allow us to connect with others after being isolated for so long, and remind us that the pandemic might soon come to an end.
Seeing others share their vaccine selfies on social media, and posting our own once we are vaccinated, not only helps spread our voice about the importance of vaccines, but also demonstrates how sharing with our community is an important part of this process.