Posting about their day is a regular practice for Generations Y and Z, especially when they have something new or exclusive to share. In the midst of a global pandemic and with the shaky rollout of covid vaccines making them a holy grail, it's no surprise that selfies with the coveted shot are infecting social media timelines.
This can provoke envy and even outrage, especially if the person posting appears to have crossed the line. But what if the intent was to encourage others to get the shot too? Is that in order?
Since the pandemic started, people around the world have been living increasingly significant parts of their lives online. But with 72% of the American public using any type of social media, according to the Pew Research Center, who sets the rules for proper social media etiquette?
"This is a whole new kind of pandemic world," said Catherine Newman, the etiquette columnist at Real Simple and author of How to be a Person. One advantage of using social media is that people can generate waves of public opinion that everyone can benefit from. Newman, who also volunteers at a hospice, was vaccinated and posted a selfie. She said the selfies can help address some of the public health problems of distrust that contributed to the hesitation of the vaccine.
"I don't want to see a picture of your yacht on social media," she said. She would rather see Covid vaccine selfies but warns users to pay attention to the labeling they choose.
After all, nearly 500,000 Americans were killed in the pandemic, and there have been sharp differences in vaccination rates – especially among color communities and older adults, who are among the highest risk categories.
The question arises: is posting a vaccine selfie on your social media account a faux pas or is it still a given?
Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert, certified mediator in the state of California, and founder of the Swann School of Protocol in Carlsbad, California, repeated these precautions. "RNs and frontline workers have a very different story to tell than a 20-year-old who was vaccinated for an unknown reason," she said.
At the same time, it is not necessarily clear how someone would be eligible for the vaccine. A person might appear young and healthy at first glance, but have a state of health or other qualification criteria. "We don't know," she said. She advises that posters follow the three core values of manners: respect, honesty, and consideration.
Same goes for people who respond to the posts.
35-year-old George Francois, director of the Center for Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, recorded his covid vaccination on Facebook. Looking at the overall death and infection rates in the African American community, he viewed his post as a civil service. "I could inspire others to do so without having to speak to them directly," he said.
It's a sentiment shared by J. Shawn Durham, 44, a Washington, DC actor and an inadvertent "vaccinating vulture". He received a call from a friend of a friend to get vaccinated after a scheduled patient missed his appointment – and left a critical dose that might otherwise have been wasted. "I'm healthy. I'm black. I'm school so I know our history and the Tuskegee experiments," he said. And given that story, Durham released his selfies to "lead by example," he added Whites and the rich are vaccinated. I want blacks to be vaccinated too. "
Francois received no backlash from his post and did not consider it a big deal. "A lot of people publish their HIV and Covid test results," he said.
Bottom Line: It is common for younger adults to publicly share things that some older adults consider far too personal.
"It's a little sticky at times, I think, but there is a lot of misinformation," said Emilio Delgado, 31, who was born in Puerto Rico and now lives in DC. He posted in part to instill confidence in the vaccine – to let His connections "see that someone they knew took it and didn't grow a third eyeball," he said of his reluctant followers. Because of that, he added, it was worth it.
Delgado, a local actor and patient educator at George Washington University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, had access to the vaccine because of his frequent role-play role-play ultrasounds with fourth-year medical students in this role as a "standardized patient." He earns most of his income from such patient referrals and is often in the hospital – a place that is generally considered to be risky – so he prefers to be vaccinated.
For Signe Hawley, 34, a researcher and volunteer firefighter at the base of northwest Boulder, Colorado, getting – and posting about – the vaccine was an emotional experience.
At the beginning of the pandemic, she made the difficult decision to back off from her voluntary duties to protect her wife and 2-year-old daughter. But because she had been a first responder in her community, she was able to qualify for the vaccine earlier than expected. "I wouldn't cut the line," said Hawley. "But if I had the chance, I wouldn't miss it either."
For Hawley, the most serious side effect she faced after vaccination was the deep grief and sadness that surfaced in connection with the loss of her father, along with thoughts of all the other lives lost "to the mismanagement." , she said.
Her father, Joe Hawley Sr., 67, died from complications from Covid-19 at Norwalk Hospital in southwest Connecticut in early April. His family was never allowed to enter the intensive care unit during his struggle with Covid. And her interest in volunteering and service is something she inherited from her father, a "humanitarian at heart" who cared for the New England community that he lived.
"Being vaccinated for something my father died of is so surreal," she said in a broken voice. Sharing her story and the vaccine photo was a way to honor her father. "This is a step to reduce the effects of death and serious health complications with Covid, but it doesn't stop there," she said.
Ultimately, she said, the more people vaccinated, the better off we are all.
"We're all posting this in hopes of getting a buy-in," said national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, author and founder of the Protocol School of Texas, a San Antonio-based company specializing in corporate etiquette training Has. Know your audience, she advised. One more important reminder, follow Federal Trade Commission guidelines that discourage mailing vaccination cards containing identifying information that could expose you to identity theft.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.