Vaccine centers embrace stickers and selfie stations 

The best picture I’ve seen this week was a selfie from my father-in-law who just got his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Along with the shot, they gave him a sticker that says “I got vaccinated!”

As the vaccine rollout continues, clinics and distribution centers across the country are embracing things like stickers and even selfie stations decked out with colorful backgrounds to help people celebrate getting the shot.

The selfie stations are set up as colorful backgrounds, often with pro-vaccine messaging tiled with the name of the healthcare provider. It’s good branding. And hey, if social media-friendly backgrounds helped make some trendy restaurants popular, there’s no reason they couldn’t work for vaccine sites too.

Added bonus — if the vaccines are being given in a healthcare setting, it gives people a designated space to take pictures without compromising other patients’ privacy.

Vaccine stickers and selfies can increase confidence in vaccines. Just like “I voted” stickers were designed to remind people about Election Day, “I got vaccinated” stickers are designed to help people see the vaccination efforts unfolding in their own community.

Back in December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed stickers for healthcare workers to wear after they got vaccinated. Since they were some of the first people in the country to get vaccinated, the stickers were an easy way for workers to start conversations about the vaccines with their patients and colleagues — some of whom might be reluctant to get the vaccine.

The ready-made vaccination celebrations are also a way to dissuade people from sharing their vaccine cards on social media. Those can contain personal information, and posting photos of them can help scammers scam. A photo of your vaccinated self sporting a sticker, on the other hand, does not pose nearly as much of a privacy risk.

Stickers can serve the same purpose outside of the healthcare industry too. But also; they’re super fun. Slapping on a sticker is a chance to visually celebrate in a time when there’s been so little for us to enjoy. So is taking a selfie to share with the world. Sure, there are public health benefits to making vaccination visible. It’s also pure joy.

I’m not eligible to receive the vaccine yet where I am, and I probably won’t be for a long time. But after seeing so much death and suffering during the past year, it brings me nothing but hope and happiness to see the relief in people’s eyes after they get their shot.

Other people have been taking their vaccine celebrations into their own hands. Not content with the official offerings, they’re dressing in their best, donning sequins, and even bringing fun bandages to patch themselves up after the shot. Vaccinated people can’t throw a big maskless party yet — but they can celebrate a small, momentous victory. It’s fantastic.

There are still too few people vaccinated, here in the US and around the world. The rollout has been messy, and frustrating and inequitable. It still is. Governments can still do much better. But more people are getting the shot every day. In fact, Friday set vaccination records in the US and EU.

Without a doubt, that’s something to celebrate.

Here’s what else happened this week.

Research

The coronavirus is threatening a comeback. Here’s how to stop it.
Vaccination numbers are rising, but so are coronavirus variants. The pandemic isn’t over yet, but there are ways to make this next phase better than the last. (Apoorva Mandivalli / The New York Times)

Coronavirus reinfection will soon become our reality
As the virus evolves and time goes on, it’s likely that we’ll see more re-infections of the coronavirus. Here’s how that might work. (Katherine J. Wu / The Atlantic)

Coronavirus spreads readily in gyms when people don’t wear masks
A new CDC report this week looked at COVID-19 outbreaks connected to gyms. They found that indoor fitness classes that did not require people to wear masks allowed the virus to spread easily. (Amina Kahn/The Los Angeles Times)

Development

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine backed by independent FDA committee
A single-shot vaccine got a unanimous green light from an FDA committee on Friday. The meeting came after an FDA report issued earlier this week confirmed Johnson and Johnson’s conclusions about their vaccine. (Nicole Wetsman / The Verge)

Moderna ready to test version of COVID-19 vaccine aimed at worrisome variant
Moderna is preparing to test a version of their vaccine that directly targets a particular strain of the virus. The company’s existing vaccine doesn’t work as well against this variant, so they’re developing a new version. (Damian Garde and Matthew Herper / STAT)

The growing evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines can reduce transmission, explained
When they were testing vaccines, companies looked to see if the vaccines could keep people from getting sick. And all authorized vaccines do a great job at keeping people out of the hospital and alive. But the big clinical trials weren’t designed to look at how well they can keep people from passing the disease from one person to another. It’s a big question, and one that researchers (and everyone else) is eager to uncover. (Kelsey Piper / Vox)

Perspectives

In every volunteer opportunity I’d ever been a part of, you made camp friends, formed quick alliances. To do so that day, when you even didn’t know who had been vaccinated and who hadn’t, felt aggressive and dangerous. Even holding the door open for the person behind you on the orientation tour could violate the required distance. I couldn’t discreetly murmur to my shift buddy about who was trying to cut and who was about to get out of hand.

— Irin Carmon writes about her experience as a COVID vaccine site bouncer in Brooklyn for Intelligencer.

More than Numbers

To the more than 113,507,393 people worldwide who have tested positive, may your road to recovery be smooth.

To the families and friends of the 2,519,257 people who have died worldwide — 510,467 of those in the US — your loved ones are not forgotten.

Stay safe, everyone.



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