Covid-19 vaccine stickers can encourage people to get vaccinated

Experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hope this is the case.

“I definitely think the public health cart has some weight,” infectious disease epidemiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera told CNN. “The flu vaccination patch has become iconic. Something similar to Covid-19, like a button or a sticker, would be something I personally would wear with pride and encourage others too.”

Research shows that visual representation of public health measures is a good thing, from normalizing getting the flu shot to wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As the United States started vaccinating health workers this week, some hope that something as simple as a sticker can help spread the message to get vaccinated.
The CDC designed two Covid-19 vaccine stickers to encourage health professionals to wear them after vaccination. There is an orange and white version that says “I have my Covid-19 vaccine!”
Malaty Rivera specializes in translating complex scientific concepts into accessible information. She is chief of science communications at the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer organization that collects state-level coronavirus data.

“Definitely has psychology in it,” said Malaty Rivera. “The ‘I’ve got the flu shot’ sticker for caregivers certainly gives patients and people entering the hospital some confidence that they are entering safe and protected places.”

She said other research has shown how bracelets have been used to help parents keep their children on a vaccination schedule in developing countries.
After nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in New York to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, she put a white and green sticker on her scrubs. “Covid-19 is crushed. I got my vaccine, ”the sticker read.
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“I feel hopeful today, relieved. I hope this is the beginning of the end of a very painful time,” she said at a press conference.

The vaccine represents “hope, a cure, a restoration of public health and safety” and is a “step in the right direction,” said Lindsay, an intensive care unit nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

In fact, wearing a sticker can make people feel like they hope we’re heading in the right direction, Malaty Rivera said.

“If people just walk around with their masks, it’s normal for 2020,” she said. “If you start to see a growing trend of people wearing stickers, it can start to excite you about things happening, people being protected and we may be getting closer to the end of this.”

However, the stickers are unlikely to change the minds of people concerned about getting the vaccine or against it. The hesitation in the US is perhaps the biggest challenge to the introduction of the vaccine, Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement Saturday.

“Manufacturing, distribution and administration are still challenges, but perhaps the biggest threat that remains is people’s willingness to get vaccinated,” she said.

Some people wonder if the vaccine is safe because it came out much faster than the typical vaccine, which takes years to make.

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“I don’t think the stickers will do much to change people’s minds about their preconceived conclusions about the vaccine,” said Malaty Rivera. “I think hesitation about vaccines needs to be addressed through very specific communication.”

“The hesitancy to vaccinate predates the Covid-19 vaccine and we have a long history of it here in this country and the way to curb this is by dispelling myths, debunking misinformation and providing people with accurate information and data to help them feel confident in the process, ”she said.

Regardless of how people feel about the vaccine, its development, and how scientists worldwide have worked to research and bring it together, Malaty Rivera is proud.

“I’ve never been more proud of science than I am now, and I think we all should be,” said Malaty Rivera.

The goal of public health is for people to do things to take care of each other, she said. Getting a vaccine is the same idea – you’re doing something “for the sake of others,” she said.

“In the same way that we say we wear masks for others, we are vaccinated for others,” she said. “By helping each other, we get to the finish.”