Culture Hack

Culture Hack

What’s Your Vax Status: How Vaccines are Turning Into the New Social Stance

When most of the vaccines were approved for public use at the beginning of March, many made their excitement on the drugs’ approvals known including a number of notable public figures. Some even had the privilege of getting their shots early on, documenting their appointments to ease the nerves of their followers. Social media connected the influential with the general public in this monumental step towards the possible end of the pandemic. Although we expect these influential people to be inspiring and to encourage us to be brave, there are some that have used their platforms for honesty and transparency when it comes to the new vaccines.

A seemingly unexpected response on the topic of vaccinations came from Lakers player and basketball superstar LeBron James. NBA commissioner Adam Silver had told the press that he believes most of the players will get the shot, though saying it was still a personal decision to make. When questioned about his own vaccine plans, James suggested that matters such as the shot should be reserved for families rather than something that is promoted and used for headlines. Fans were confused by this statement especially because the NBA has distributed PSAs with some of the most iconic players of the league, such as Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, encouraging people to get vaccinated once allowed to do so. But during a time where the health and safety of someone and their family is of the utmost importance, is it fair that the public demand their opinions?

According to Pew Research, 77% of the U.S. feels that the COVID-19 vaccine will be approved before the safety and effectiveness is fully understood.

Whenever you watch TV or a streaming platform with ads, you will most likely come across a commercial promoting vaccinations. While getting the shots are important for achieving herd immunity and a level of communal health that is functional, the new nature of the medicine has people concerned about how the health they have prioritized for nearly a year and a half will be affected. While the percentage of people saying they will get vaccinated increases daily, the concern remains. Although the promotion of vaccines through celebrity-centric ads may calm some nerves, people could also benefit from knowing that their favorite public figures are handling the situation with similar doubts and fears. 

Rather than vaccination opinions being regarded as the new public political stances, they should be seen as open conversations between those in the public eye and their followers. Some may confuse James’ statement for him being an “anti-vaxxer,” a term heavily weaponized by mainstream media, but he speaks with a transparency that is uncommon. It’s easy for culture makers and companies to constantly promote the new medicine through their platforms but the effort should be put into giving everyone a space to exchange information and to sympathize through common concerns. 

In a time with so much uncertainty about what will help us out of the pandemic and how we can reach a point of safety, it’s unfair to oversimplify something as complex as a first-year vaccine. Rather than treating it as a topic of division between the logical and illogical, we should see it as a step towards a solution that some will have discuss before taking while others are free to do so.