The current moment of medicine is defined by the vaccine selfie. Images on Twitter and Instagram have marked a turning point in the COVID pandemic, where desperate health professionals have begun to show defiance.
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson has another idea about the vaccine selfie. He posted a wonderful thread suggesting that the vaccine selfie might have some drawbacks. Although it needs no introduction, WSS is a power thinker in the field of child health, vaccines and public engagement. In the early years of Twitter, Dr. Swanson was a vaccine advocate and science advocate when most of ours influencers I had never heard of Twitter.
Tan check it out. Here are some excerpts from his thread.
Some of the COVID vax selfies of medical peeps feel right / satisfied to me. Worry that it may have the opposite effect at a time of vaccine shortage. In fact, IMO medical messages or images can divide the divide between the public and health workers. Maybe it will even increase mistrust. In many current doc / RN selfies, I don’t see the same identity. I can see exclusivity. Like others, I am beyond the pleasure of front-line workers being vaccinated.
Many of us (myself included) are eager to be immunized and will wait months. Grateful for the pioneering vax, the research and the first recipients, and the attention to the assignment. But the #FOMO vaccine is real.
The leadership of the medical staff-nurse-health worker now comes with a delicacy. Not brave. Recognizing the ridiculous toll our healthcare workforce has incurred and the relief that can be felt when the vax is achieved, I realize the great order not to post the photo immediately.
A couple of thoughts:
The history of vaccine distribution is evolving
I will add that discrepancies in vaccine distribution have become more evident week after week. As someone who believed that all providers facing the patient would have reasonably immediate access to the Pfizer vaccine during phase 1, I had no reason to think that my image created feelings of distance and division.
But I see it. I can see how the vaccine selfie could create a split. And I care that this sense of division grows. As the distribution division is shown, we will continue to see how one healthcare community confronts one person with another. Vaccine distribution will expose the differences in values that are developed across our communities and the health delivery system. Like Bob Wachter suggested on Twitter on December 17, Vaccine launching is a window into an organization’s culture and priorities.
Vinay Prasad’s Twitter account:
Posting a vaccine selfie went from being an easy way to convince skeptics to full text, email and discussion about DM about who has access first and if that makes any sense … I’m betting that selfies will come less often. .
The public should see doctors taking the vaccine
While I am inclined to feel bad for sharing my image, we must recognize those who are willing to show that they believe in the minds and science behind this vaccine. The public is dangerously suspicious of the vaccine. I’m still amazed at the medical colleagues who timidly grant “wait a bit” before getting the vaccine. The number of front-line medical assistants in care centers for the elderly who refuse to get the vaccine is staggering given the risk to this vulnerable population.
So while I can see what the vaccine selfie might look like, I think there is some merit to itTwitter Stormof health professionals showing off their #fauciouchies for everyone to see.
And there are who worked the hell of The City in March. Seeing them now with their bands is an invaluable show of personal victory.
I realized the power of mine decision to take the vaccine. In places where I meet people and talk to them, they ask me in silent tones with changing eyes, “So … did you get the vaccine?” When I share this, I could see the wheels spinning. I can win them with who I am. It’s a weird superpower that will never cross my mind. But this power of approval of the base is more critical than ever.
And the resistance piece….
I believe in the BOUNTY of a vaccinated population. As a pediatrician, I know that vaccination against COVID19 will bring security, freedom, belonging, protection, and promise. I don’t want to mess up the opportunity for those with an “early shot” of leading and influencing as we all watch.
Share your selfies about the COVID19 vaccine with humility, carefully writing words that take into account other people who still cannot get the vaccine.
Something to think about.
Wendy’s voice shows the power of perspective and difference in a medical world with which one walks in line striking medical voices and self-portraits. He is a calm but powerful voice of independent thinking.
I need and miss the civil and persuasive challenges of a way of seeing the world.
Get things like this in your inbox. Sign up for the 33-graphic newsletter. Weekly curator and articles offering information on medicine, technology and culture.