Are vaccine selfies good or bad for fighting hesitancy? Researchers weigh in

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Selfies that social media users upload after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 could be an effective tool to spread the message that vaccines are safe and effective, according to research published recently in Psychology & Health.

Researchers from the University of Kansas in Lawrence noted there has been a debate about whether sharing vaccine selfies is a good thing, as they may constitute shaming of unvaccinated people, slow down the vaccination process for healthcare workers or lead to identity theft. They said that despite the debate, vaccine selfies are still one of the best ways to share positive experiences about COVID-19 vaccination.

"When you put your picture out there and people can see your face, it’s a sign to your friends, family, social circle and people who trust you that you are vaccinated," study author Mauryne Abwao said in a September 9 news release. "We’ve seen many times social media as a place where trends are set, especially with people mimicking behavior. It’s much like fashion. Everybody wants to have the latest."

Ms. Abwao pointed out that people in many other countries are still posting these selfies and excited about the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, so "the conversation will be relevant for a long time."

The authors gave the following suggestions for sharing an effective vaccine selfie: post a well-lit photo showing a person’s face and arm, include clear text indicating the drugmaker of the vaccine a person received and use a hashtag such as #IGotTheShot, #BeatTheVirus or #vaccineswork.

 

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