Suspicion of the vaccine is slowly ebbing, thanks in part to the high effectiveness rates in clinical trials and social media pics of real people getting the shot.
The COVID-19 virus struck 2020 like a toddler stomping through a tower of blocks. With news cycles filled with escalating unemployment rates and intense political pressure, the medical research community put decades of protocols in place try to understand the new virus. As pharmaceutical companies began to test their vaccines, some people worried about the accelerated time frame. Which, in turn, led to some claiming they would not get the vaccine and at one point, two-thirds of voters said they would not get the vaccine when it becomes available. However, a promising story in The New York Times shows that more people are now willing to get the coronavirus vaccine than were just months ago.
The New York Times rounded up several independent surveys from Gallup, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center, which all stated that the number of Americans saying they would now take the vaccine has jumped from around 50% this summer to more than 60% now. One Kaiser poll even shows that 71% of people “definitely or probably [will] get a vaccine for COVID-19” now, up eight percentage points from September’s numbers.
Most polls showed vaccine enthusiasm early in the pandemic, though people started to become more hesitant about the vaccine in September. However, now that the vaccine is actually here, poll numbers are increasing again and more people are stating they are “likely” or “certain” to get the vaccine.
The temptation of the vaccine’s availability is part of the allure, the Times supposes. The limited supply makes the Pfizer vaccine have the same you-couldn’t-get-it-even-if-you-wanted-it allure as Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket. Which brings us to the vaxxie.
Vaxxies, selfies taken while getting the vaccine, have become the new social media trend, according to The Cut. The phrase, coined by actor Alan Alda during a conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, was born in order to restore confidence in the vaccination process.
“What do you think of this, Dr. Fauci,” Alda said. “It seems to me the most trusted people, the ambassadors, might be the people who are getting vaccinated themselves because they’ve made the choice to do it and they have a good reason to do it.”
After receiving the vaccination, Alda suggested people stop for a moment, take a picture or video, and describe to their social media followers why they chose to get the shot. The actor also encouraged people to let people know if they felt any discomfort after getting the shot, along with any other thoughts about the process.
“Then it occurred to me, what about this as an idea,” Alda continued. “If it’s possible to take a selfie while you’re getting a shot and post it on the web, post it on social media, the people you know trust you and you can spread the word that way. So instead of taking a selfie, take a ‘vaxxie.’”
Fauci liked Alda’s plan. “Good idea, Alan,” the doctor said with a laugh.
Whether it’s the “vaxxies,” the low rates of side effects, or the encouraging statements about the vaccines efficacy, we’re just glad more people are willing to get the vaccine and end this pandemic.