Love them or hate them, selfies are making a return and making a difference in the world
At a time where vaccine misinformation and hesitancy are at an all-time high. ‘Vaccine selfies’ or ‘Vaxxies’ are helping to restore faith in science and encourage others to get the jab. Social media platforms are flooding with vaccine selfies from celebs, royals and people all over the world.
‘Vaxxies’ restore confidence in the vaccine
The good old traditional selfie can get some negative feedback normally. Yet, these selfies are different, they’re not referencing your outfit of the day or your smashed avo at breakfast. ‘Vaxxie’ selfies are people sharing proof of their Covid-19 vaccination, to create solidarity.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets are filling with people’s images, post-jab. The purpose of the vaccine selfie is to create confidence and shift the stigmas and uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 shot.
Billionaire Richard Branson documenting his vaccine shot.
Covering the drug industry, you usually hope you never have to try the products you report on. This one was different. Got my 1st shot of #covid19 vaccine today. Making spike proteins! Super grateful. #PlanYourVaccine #vaxxie pic.twitter.com/cFknUEnEeT
— Meg Tirrell (@megtirrell) April 14, 2021
I’m a lucky man. Lucky to work alongside the @LAFD & our great frontline @CoreResponse staff, our partners at Carbon Health, USC, & Curative Lab. We test & vaccinate thousands per day. We need your support to get more people lucky. Text CORE to 707070 to donate. pic.twitter.com/VeCgAC7hMR
— Sean Penn (@SeanPenn) January 26, 2021
Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus. pic.twitter.com/tijVCSnJd7
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 18, 2020
— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) March 9, 2021
As with any social movement, you’re either for or against. By posting on social media signifies your stance on the topic. A ‘vaxxie’ signifies you’re pro-vax. According to Professor Gary Mortimer, this group mentality represents, you’re either with us or against us.
“It’s classic in-group-out-group behaviour.”
The social identity theory explains the psychology behind this concept. This theory states internal cohesion and loyalty to the in-group exists when the group members maintain a state of almost hostility or assertive opposition toward out-groups. Interestingly, the out-groups are often perceived as inferior.
A vaccine selfie may encourage friends and family to be in the same ‘in-group.’ Professor Mortimer says we have been seeing this behaviour for years at sporting events.
Don’t know what you call a selfie post-vaccine. But here’s my #vaxxie and couldn’t be happier. Caring, professional and efficient approach of everyone at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, especially the @StVincentsMelb staff. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/gmAKMDeuI8
— Chief Health Officer, Victoria (@VictorianCHO) April 21, 2021
Risks of posting a vaccine selfie
Social media posts about controversial topics usually cop some negative feedback. A ‘Vaxxie’ post is likely to alienate you from others, who do not follow your views. According to Professor Gary Mortimer, from the Queensland University of Technology, people can try to share a post that makes them feel morally “good” or woke.
There’s a fine line between encouraging others to engage in behaviour and coming across as pushy or superior.
In addition, another area for concern is brands seeing vaccine selfies as an opportunity for marketing. Which could encourage people to get a certain brand, that isn’t medically best suited for them, just because they were ‘influenced’ by a ‘vaxxie’.
However, in a bid to boost the vaccine rollout and eliminate hesitancy, vaccine selfies won’t be the only solution but will likely play some kind of positive role in the foreseeable future.
Trump’s campaign debut was panned – but don’t underestimate his chances
Last weekend, Donald Trump held two events in New Hampshire and South Carolina, his first official forays onto the 2024 presidential battlefield.
The experts panned it.
A lot of the political class is talking about Trump in the past tense, and not the future, briefing out to the media that his rambling, Fidel Castro-like monologues bore his audiences silly, that his obsessions and battles with his political enemies do not have the reach they did in 2016 and during his term in office, that he is immersing himself more deeply in extremist QAnon cult waters, that he faces indictments and trials that will derail his campaign and might even put him in jail.
And more: that Trump wallows in the “stolen” 2020 election, knowing that there was no way he could have lost since he got 12 million more votes than in 2016. Trump never concedes. Six years later, he does not acknowledge that Hillary Clinton got almost 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016 – and that he won only because she lost in the Electoral College.
The telling critique – the one driving Republicans in private to say that Trump is done (or should be done, or will be done) is that Trump is a loser.
That Trump lost Republican control of the House of Representatives in 2018, bringing back Nancy Pelosi who secured not one, but two impeachments of the president; that he lost the White House in 2020; that he lost control of the Senate in January 2021 when Democrats swept both Georgia Senate seats, giving them control of that chamber; and that Trump-backed candidates in Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Arizona again cost Republicans control of the Senate in the 2022 midterms. As Vince Lombardi, legendary gridiron coach of Green Bay and Washington, said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Lombardi would say Trump was a loser.
Trump is having none of it, and his iron resolve was on full display for those listening more closely when he gave his orations last weekend.
“Maybe he’s lost his step,” Trump said in evoking the musings of some Republicans. But, “I’m more angry now, and I’m more committed than I ever was.”
The anger is palpable. The Trump 2023 brand joins his anger with the hottest culture war buttons he can press. Immigration, the open wound that is the southern border, the wall he will finish, the rapists and criminals who are flooding in and that he will keep out tomorrow. Immigration is his lead-off weapon.
Then promises of energy independence and oil forever. Utter hostility to electric vehicles and wind energy – especially if the windmills are offshore. No transgender women in sports. No way they are tolerated. A purge of woke content from school curricula, schoolbooks, school libraries, and school boards. Parents empowered to fire the principal of the schools their children attend; Trump says the parents can vote them out of their jobs.
Trump never goes far into the culture wars without conjuring up Hunter Biden, the president’s son.
Trump cannot get enough of Hunter’s laptop and the criminality of the Bidens, their business dealings and their money. We can barely follow all the Trump twists and turns in this tale, but there is no mistake that Trump wants Hunter nailed and his father to bear the consequences.
Reprising his role as Commander-in-Chief, Trump said, in case we have not been paying attention, that we are on the brink on World War III. That Ukraine would not have happened if he had been president. That we could have a peace deal “in 24 hours.” Trump wants to call Putin and knows Putin will be waiting for that call.
Trump’s great loyalist, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, was on the podium with Trump and put it this way after the event. “How many times have you heard we like Trump’s policies but we want somebody new? There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump.”
That’s the message Trump delivered to his base last weekend. And that’s how Trump intends to win.
Buried in Trump’s massive monologue was the core of what could be a winning message. “My mission is to secure a middle-class lifestyle for everyone. I did it before and I will do it again. And we will be respected in the world once again.”
Three powerful sentences which, coupled with the red meat of his anger and rage, mean that Trump is very much alive and kicking.
Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport
Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury
Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.
It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.
Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.
Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.
Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.
Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.
He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.
Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.
In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.
There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.
Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?
Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone
Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.
It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.
We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.
But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.
There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.
On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.
So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.
We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.
So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.
Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.
Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?
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