COVID-19 vaccine selfies taking social media by storm
TORONTO -- As Canada’s mass vaccination campaign picks up, people are sharing COVID-19 “vaxxies,” more commonly known as vaccine selfies, on social media to spread an important message.
Politicians, actors and celebrities are all apart of the latest social media trend where people share post-vaccine selfies in the hopes of encouraging others to get a jab.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, and later posted a photo of the experience.
“Vaccines are safe, effective and they help save lives,” Pallister said in the caption.
“I encourage all Manitobans to roll up their sleeves and get a vaccine as soon as you are eligible,” he added
Other public figures such as fashion designer Marc Jacobs, Canadian movie star Ryan Reynolds and pop icon Mariah Carey all took to social media to encourage fans to follow their lead with vaccine selfies.
Country music legend Dolly Parton also shared a photo receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which she helped fund.
Although the selfie approach could encourage others to get inoculated, some experts say it may also not be the best public health strategy, especially when it comes to those who haven’t gotten their shot.
Joanne McNeish, an associate professor of marketing at Ryerson University, told CTV News that sharing vaccine selfies on social media could discourage some who are already on the fence about getting the vaccine.
“The schedule is starting to move up. We are starting to get supply, but now you’ve built a group of people in the middle – the hesitant people who are less sure about getting it than they were two months ago and social media isn’t great in overcoming those fears,” McNeish said.
The post-injection selfies also risk creating a divide between those who have been vaccinated and others in high-risk communities who may feel sidelined during the third wave of the pandemic.
But one Canadian man has proven that there are more ways than one to celebrate one’s triumph over the virus.
Gurdeep Pandher, the Whitehorse, Yukon resident famous for his viral dancing videos, celebrated his vaccination the best way he knew how – with a traditional Punjabi Bhangra.
On March 2, a video of him dancing on a frozen lake in the territory gained the attention of millions on Twitter, and again when he got his second dose of the Moderna vaccine on April 7.
Pandher has emerged as a symbol of hope for Yukon residents throughout the pandemic sharing videos of himself dancing on social media. His latest video has already surpassed 3 million views in less than a week.
“Those videos got a tremendous response from people all over Canada and beyond. People are writing beautiful comments and sending beautiful messages,” Pandher told CTV News.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee also hopes a photo of him getting vaccinated will encourage members of his community and beyond to trust the process.
“Since I’ve had the vaccine, I’ve had no symptoms or side effects. If I could recommend it for anyone I would, because it’s that important,” Settee said.