Mainstream US media is under fire for publishing an article telling Americans that life won’t go back to normal even after they’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 – and critics argue the message discourages vaccination.
In an AP article from Saturday, which has since been republished by a number of news outlets including NBC New York, medical writer Lauran Neergaard bluntly told readers not to “expect to shed your mask and get back to normal activities right away” after being “fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.”
“That’s going to be a disappointment, if not a shock, to many people,” she added.
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The message did not go down well with readers, who warned the outlets that hope-dashing assertions of a quick return to normalcy will only serve to stop Americans from getting the vaccine.
This messaging will GUARANTEE a lot of people won’t bother getting the vaccine.
Reality for normal, sane people is – once vaccinated, no more mask, normal is here. Period. It’s just common sense and what anyone without an agenda will tell you.
— Rob Pugliese (@RobPugs717) February 22, 2021
We’re left to conclude the vaccine’s benefits are primarily psychological: “Meanwhile, don’t underestimate how important it is for the vaccinated to feel less anxiety as they run errands or go to work while still following the public health measures…” https://t.co/rYIp8CnsrJ
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) February 22, 2021
I don’t really mind wearing masks that much, so to the extent that it’s helpful after I get vaccinated that’s fine. But it’s really remarkable how relentless the messaging is in the media that life won’t improve after getting it. https://t.co/YTX0JxFkVT
— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) February 22, 2021
“This messaging isn’t going to encourage the skeptical to get vaccinated. It will do just the opposite,” argued one social media user after NBC New York’s reprint of the article gained traction on Monday, while journalist Christine Rousselle questioned, “Why would anyone get the vaccine after reading this headline?”
Other media figures called the message “toxic” and “probably the biggest menace we have to public health right now,” and claimed the right message should be that vaccination will lead to a speedy return to a life before lockdowns.
This messaging is toxic. https://t.co/DkJ3plp7F3
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) February 22, 2021
The “vaccination makes no difference” crowd is probably the biggest menace we have to public health right now. https://t.co/4zlnqqFTsN
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) February 22, 2021
There should be room for a forward looking statement here.
This reads: thanks for getting a vaccine, but sadly it means nothing for you.
The messaging SHOULD be: thanks for getting a vaccine, you can get back and take your mask off soon. Please convince your friends to join. https://t.co/sxU2K2Ms89
— 𝙂𝙐𝙉𝙉𝘼𝙍 𝙀𝙎𝙄𝘼𝙎𝙊𝙉 (@G17Esiason) February 22, 2021
People from all over the world have long been assured that mass vaccination would bring an end to restrictions. But nearly one year on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic it has been claimed that life might not return to normal for at least several years – if ever.
Vaccine hesitancy has become a growing concern for medical officials and public figures who support mass programs of Covid-19 vaccination, and a Pew Research report from December showed that 39 percent of Americans – over 100 million people – were opposed to receiving the vaccine.
In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has openly attempted to combat mistrust by recruiting celebrities to persuade people to get vaccinated. Similar attempts to use popular culture for vaccine-promotion have been made in the US, with mixed results. An animated rap video urging black people to get Covid-19 vaccines that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo published in February was, for instance, deemed “insulting,” “racist” and “condescending,” and swiftly ratioed on Twitter.
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