Experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are hopeful that this is the case.
“I really think the public health spoils carry some weight,” infectious disease epidemiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera told CNN. “The flu vaccine dressing has become iconic. Something similar for Covid-19, like a button or sticker, would be something that I would personally wear proudly and encourage others to do as well.
Research shows that visual displays of public health measures are a good thing, from standardizing the flu vaccine to wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As the United States began vaccinating healthcare workers this week, there are hopes that something as simple as a sticker will help spread the word about getting vaccinated.
The CDC has designed two Covid-19 vaccine stickers to encourage health workers to wear them after being vaccinated. There is an orange version and a white version that says, “I received my Covid-19 vaccine! “
“There is definitely some psychology in there,” said Malaty Rivera. “The ‘I got the flu shot’ sticker for healthcare providers definitely gives patients and people who come to 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 an immunization schedule in developing countries.
After nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in New York City to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, she put a white and green sticker on her scrubs. “Crush Covid-19. I have my vaccine, ”the sticker read.
“I feel optimistic today, relieved. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful period, ”she said at a press conference.
The vaccine represents “hope, a cure, the restoration of public health and safety” and is a “step in the right direction,” said Lindsay, intensive care unit nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
Wearing a sticker can even make people feel like we’re hoping we’re headed in the right direction, said Malaty Rivera.
“If people are just walking around with their masks on, that’s okay for 2020,” she said. “If you start to see a growing trend for people to wear stickers, it might start to get you excited that things are happening, people are being protected and we might be getting closer and closer to the end. ”
However, the stickers are unlikely to change the minds of people who fear or object to getting the vaccine. Reluctance over vaccines in the United States may be the biggest challenge facing the vaccine rollout, Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement Saturday.
“Manufacturing, distribution and administration still pose challenges, but the greatest threat that remains may be people’s willingness to be vaccinated,” she said.
Some people wonder if the vaccine is safe, as it came out much faster than the typical vaccine, which takes years to create.
“I don’t think the stickers are going to do much to change people’s minds about their preconceived conclusions about the vaccine,” said Malaty Rivera. “I think reluctance to immunize should be targeted with very specific communications. ”
“The vaccine reluctance predates the Covid-19 vaccine and we have a long history of it here in this country, and the way to fight that is to dispel myths, debunk misinformation and provide people with accurate information and data to help them feel confident in the process, ”she said.
Regardless of what people think of the vaccine, its development and the way scientists have worked around the world to research it and help it come together makes Malaty Rivera proud.
“I have never been so proud of science as I am today and I think we should all be,” said Malaty Rivera.
The goal of public health is for people to take care of each other, she said. Getting a vaccine is the same idea – you’re doing something for “the good of others,” she says.
“The same way we say we wear masks for other people, we also get vaccinated for others,” she said. “Helping each other cross the finish line. ”