Posting a Vaccine Selfie Could Encourage Others to Get Vaccinated

The rapidly changing social environment is yet another impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some have questioned the morality of posting about your vaccination status, others suggest that showing your friends that you’re vaccinated could encourage them to do the same.

New research from the Melbourne Institute has shown that vaccine hesitancy has declined in recent months in Australia and now sits at around 21.5% of the adult population, down from 33% at the end of May.

While that’s good news, it’s also concerning as the government’s new COVID escape plan puts the number of fully vaccinated Aussies at 80% before we can finally escape this viral hell.

Vaccine hesitancy has not yet become a big issue in Australia. Slow vaccination rates are almost entirely down to supply side issues and government mismanagement than they are individual reluctance to the get the vaccine.

However, as vaccination numbers increase, we’re going to start bumping up against those who refuse to get the vaccine as they become the minority population of unvaccinated. Encouraging, education, reaching those people could very well be key to our future freedom.

Posting vaccine selfies or ‘vaxxies’ (Lord help us) could be a powerful way of showing those around you that the jab is safe, effective, and the right thing to do.

Posting Vaxxies

According to experts, vaccine selfies, or ‘vaxxies’, really can make a difference. Dr Katie Attwell, an expert in vaccination uptake from the University of Western Australia, has told the ABC that social media is a great tool for normalising the jab in a personal, real-world setting.

“Even if people are posting things like, ‘l felt shoddy the next day, I don’t feel good,’ even that is positive, because they’re still saying they’re glad they’ve done it,” she says.

“It’s really good for transparency, because it’s unmediated, it’s not being filtered through any formal channels. It’s direct people in the public talking about their experience with the vaccine.”

This is especially important if you’re getting or have had the AstraZeneca shot. While there has been a lot of hype and fear around this vaccine, it’s really a lot safer than we appear to think it is.

Advertising industry leaders have come together to produce this incredible Instagram account charting ‘The A-Z of things more likely to kill you than the AZ’. It looks at the likelihood of dying from doing a whole range of everyday things, each far more likely than the chances of death from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Still, a tiny risk is still a risk, right? That’s why some people under the age of 60 are choosing to wait it out until they can access their preferred vaccine.

Showing those people that you’ve had an AstraZeneca jab and that you’re fine could make a huge difference in boosting our vaccination rates more quickly and getting out of this pandemic faster.

Dr Attwell says that while conversing with vaccine-hesitant loved ones can be effective, it’s not always the easiest thing to do, particularly if you’re locked down.

“This is where I think social media can be a useful thing, because when you put stuff out there… it’s a way of sharing your position, without necessarily having a one-on-one conversation.”

She also explained how selfies can be a non-threatening way of making vaccination a social norm, without having to confront someone.

While it’s important not to come across as condescending or confrontational to people in the tone of your selfie, those small ‘nudges’ toward action can be more effective in the long term than trying to change each individuals mind. It’s also far less effort.

It’s All About How We Perceive Risk

While vaccine hesitancy is an issue in places like the UK and the US, most people jumped at the chance to get vaccinated as the threat of dying from COVID was so much greater than the possible risk of some almost non-existent side effect of the vaccine.

Now that we’re at a higher — still, admittedly, tiny — risk of catching and even dying of COVID, the fact that the odds have shifted has shifted our thinking. Vaccine rates are much higher than where they have been historically thanks to both an increase in demand and availability.

In heavily anti-vax or vaccine-hesitant places like Arkansas, in the US, it’s taken something as tragic as the death of a much-loved community member to change peoples minds about vaccination.

In an even more grim example, nurses and doctors are reporting that many of the people now dying of COVID in the US and the UK are anti-vaxxers and people who resisted the jab. They have been reported to regret their actions, wishing they had had the vaccine when they had the chance.

That awful reality is thankfully not the case here but doing whatever we can to help and reach out to people who are hesitant is the best chance we have of avoiding situations like that.

If you’ve been vaxxed, share your story on your socials. If you’ve yet to get vaxxed, have a chat with some of your vaccinated friends. They may be able to alleviate some of your concerns.

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