Vaccine selfies trend on Maritime social media feeds
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- More vaccine selfies are appearing on Maritime social media feeds as eligibility for getting a shot widens across the region.
Dr. Jeff Steeves, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, says the online posts may provide a boost confidence for those who are vaccine hesitant.
“Because some of the people that might be labelled as vaccine hesitant aren’t really anti-vaxxers,” Steeves says. “They don’t want to be told what to do, they might be a little unsure, they want a little more confidence with time. So seeing their friends and families and neighbours get the shot gives them that reassurance.”
Katelin Cummings took a selfie just after getting her shot last week and posted it online. The Fredericton resident says she was trying to make the idea of getting a shot more familiar to people she knows who are vaccine hesitant.
“And it’s something to be proud of,” says Cummings, “You’re taking a step to protect the people around you, to protect vulnerable people and kids who can’t get vaccinated yet.”
In addition to selfies, people are also posting pictures of their vaccine appointment emails and proof of COVID-19 immunization records.
Several public health agencies have already warned people who are posting vaccine selfies, or any other relevant documents online, to shield personal information.
Dr. Steeves says the posts may prove useful in both encouraging and reminding people to return for their second dose.
“I think the enthusiasm is fantastic,” he says.
Earlier this year, as vaccine availability grew in other jurisdictions, selfies began appearing around the world showing the gaps of vaccine access.
There is also some disagreement on whether vaccination selfies are effective for public health initiatives from at least one marketing professor.
Several politicians and public figures have posted their own vaccine selfies online. Dr. Steeves says seeing pictures of family and friends getting a shot is more powerful.
“I think it hits close to home when you see the people who are very much like you and in your sphere of influence getting their shot,” he says. “I think that probably has the most impact because you’re reassured and you’re happy that your area is increasing the level of protection.”
Rules appear to vary about whether photographs are permitted in vaccine clinics. On Friday, New Brunswick’s largest clinic to date in Saint John had a backdrop to the side of the arena saying “COVID-19 Vaccinated’ encouraging people to share #CrushingCOVIDNB online.