In Europe, photos of politicians showing their chest muscles while being injected with the vaccine have produced many memes.
Pele, Dolly Parton, and the Dalai Lama have little in common other than this: For a few days in March, the most recent case studies were from show business to hypothesize the health benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I just want to say to all the cowards in the public: Don’t be like these chickens,” Barton, 75, said in a video he posted on Twitter after receiving the vaccine in Tennessee. “Come on and give yourself the injection.”
This is not the first time that public figures have used their popularity in an effort to change the behavior of ordinary people. In medicine, celebrity propaganda tends to echo or reinforce the messages that health authorities try to spread, whether it comes to administering a vaccine or other medical treatment. In the eighteenth century in Russia, Catherine the Great was vaccinated against smallpox as part of her campaign to promote the application of the procedure throughout the country. Nearly 200 years later, behind the scenes of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Elvis Presley received the polio vaccine in an effort to convince at-risk teens to get it.
But do these celebrity endorsements really work? not nessacary. Epidemiologists say there are many caveats and potential setbacks, and little scientific evidence to show that this type of advertisement actually increases acceptance of treatments.
“Very few people give celebrities expert credibility, for good and for bad,” said Renee Nagera, an epidemiologist and editor of the Vaccine History website, a project of Physicians’ College in Philadelphia.
“Now there is a change in social media and social influence in younger age groups,” he added. “But in general, we still pay more attention to our peers than to a celebrity.”
With vaccination campaigns gaining momentum around the world, seeing high-level care has been one of the latest and strangest rituals of the coronavirus era.
To keep track of this phenomenon, New York magazine has kept an updated record of celebrities who were recently vaccinated during the winter, including Christie Brinkley (“So Easy”), Whoopi Goldberg (“I Didn’t Feel It”) and Mandy Patinkin (“One of the Benefits of Getting Older”) . Indian journalists have done the same with Bollywood stars.
In Europe, photos of politicians showing their chest muscles while being injected with the vaccine have produced many memes. Oregon epidemiologist Esther Chu jokingly said on Twitter that French Health Minister Olivier Ferrand was running a public relations campaign called “Operation Calentura”.
These posts are relevant because they allow millions of people to see immunization mechanisms, needles, and everything instantly, at a time when doubts about COVID vaccines persist in the United States and elsewhere. For example, flash testimonials by Pele, Barton and the Dalai Lama together in March reached more than 30 million followers and sparked hundreds of thousands of interactions on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. In April, singer Ciara hosted a star-studded NBC special aimed at promoting vaccination, featuring former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, as well as Lyn Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, among others.
“This type of care may be particularly important if confidence in government / official sources is very low,” Tracy Epton, a psychologist at the University of Manchester in the UK who has studied public health interventions for years, wrote in an email. pandemic.
But overall, the science linking celebrity endorsements to changes in behavior is fragile.
One of the reasons, Najira said, is that people in general view people in their own network, not celebrities, as the best sources of advice on how to change their behavior.
He cited a 2018 study that found that few firearm owners view celebrities as effective communications for the safe storage of weapons. These people were more confident in police officers, active military, hunting parties, and family members.
Nagira and other researchers held discussion groups of Americans to find out what motivated them to agree to be vaccinated or not vaccinated against COVID-19. The main finding so far, he said, was that acceptance or hesitation rates were often responsive to vaccine behavior in a person’s racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group.
Ho Phi Huynh, a professor of psychology at Texas A&M University in San Antonio, said celebrity endorsements often have a “spectrum of influences” because the degree of liking a star varies widely from fan to fan. Huene explained that some people see celebrities only for entertainment, while others form bonds with them that can make up for the lack of real relationships in their lives.
“So going back to Dolly, if people feel that she is the ‘exemplary liberal celebrity,’ she might have little influence over a large faction in the country,” (me)
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