12/02/2020 / By Cassie B.
Buying a pair of shoes promoted by a celebrity you admire may be harmless, but not all celebrity endorsements are quite so innocent. Unfortunately, some people are all too willing to blindly follow whatever trends their favorite celebrities or social media influencers are jumping on, and now it appears that COVID-19 vaccines are going to be the latest way to feel like part of the “in crowd” – although those who get the shots could well be putting their health at serious risk.
The National Health Service of the UK plans to launch a big national campaign that will be fronted by what it deems “very sensible” celebrities aimed at persuading people to get coronavirus vaccines.
“NHS England are looking for famous faces, people who are known and loved. It could be celebrities who are very sensible and have done sensible stuff during the pandemic,” The Guardian reports.
In case you are having trouble imagining what qualifies a celebrity as “sensible,” a source told The Guardian that one of the names being considered is 23-year-old professional soccer player Marcus Rashford of Manchester United, who has been campaigning to end child hunger. Some officials have said that members of the Royal Family would somehow be ideal.
The Guardian also reported that well-known TV doctors would be enlisted, along with influencers who have large followings on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Politicians are not expected to be included in the drive, but religious leaders will be asked to help convince their followers that “vaccination is good for them, their family and the country as a whole” in an attempt to get pro-vaccination messages to minorities.
Part of the reason for launching this campaign is worries that vaccine skepticism will prevent people from getting the shot. The Guardian reported that vaccine skepticism among NHS staff is also a concern, and if doctors aren’t rushing out to get the vaccine, that tells us all we need to know about it.
So far, the UK government has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca, as well as several million vaccines made by American companies, including 2 million doses of Modern’s vaccine.
According to The Guardian, the NHS plans to recruit firefighters, airline cabin crews and people without jobs in volumes of “tens of thousands” to give the vaccine to people. These teams will be trained and paid £11.20 per hour (roughly $15) to administer the shots.
The co-chair of the British Medical Association’s Public Health Medicine Committee, Dr. Penelope Toff, said: “It will be vital that there are clear culturally-tailored communications delivered by trusted local and community leaders, and targeted at the most vulnerable and harder-to-reach communities, and that it is made easy for these populations to access vaccination.”
There have been concerns that black people and ethnic minorities who are being infected at disproportionate rates will be reluctant to get the vaccine, with some medical experts saying that polls have shown that just 50 percent of people would be willing to get the vaccine without any assurances about its safety. That sounds like a pretty sensible stance, but doctors have said it’s something causing anxiety among their staff.
The coronavirus vaccine is expected to be approved by regulators in the UK within days, and hospitals around the country have been told they may receive large stocks of the shot as soon as this week. Should the approval from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency come down as expected, the UK would be the first western country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19.
The idea of using celebrities to push vaccines on the masses isn’t a new one, with big names like Elvis Presley promoting the polio vaccine back in the 1950s. Of course, there is no word on whether or not these “sensible” UK celebrities will be willing to get the coronavirus vaccines they’ll be promoting to the masses.
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