Obviously, research shows that social norms can have a huge impact on people’s behaviors and attitudes when it comes to their health. Also, people are more likely to get a vaccine when they see many people they trust are doing it.
In light of the ongoing events, Facebook has launched a new push to encourage COVID-19 vaccine take-up, with new display features on both platforms Facebook and Instagram, also a new prompt to highlight who among your connections has had the shot.
Facebook explained: “Today, we’re launching new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames on Facebook that we developed in collaboration with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new frames will let you share your support for COVID-19 vaccines and see that others you respect and care about are doing the same.”
As you can see here, the new profile frames add a ‘Let’s Get Vaccinated’ message to your profile image, along with a ‘we can do this’ rallying cry to further encourage take-up among peers.
On the other hand, on Instagram, you now add a new ‘Let’s Get Vaccinated’ sticker in your Stories and posts.
In light of the COVID-19 vaccine take-up, these visual prompts can serve a critical purpose, because as Facebook further notes:
“Research shows that social norms can have a major impact on people’s attitudes and behaviors when it comes to their health. We know people are more likely to get a vaccine when they see many people they trust are doing it.”
Given that Facebook provides a connection to the broadest net of your friends along with relatives, that could make this an important, practical push – which Facebook is looking to further expand upon with another element in its vaccination promotion effort.
Facebook notes: “In the coming weeks, we’ll show you a summary in your News Feed of your friends, family members, and people you follow who are using the COVID-19 vaccine profile frames.”
That peer element, as noted, can have a major impact, and previous Facebook research has underlined the value of similar pushes in encouraging participation.
More about the COVID-19 vaccine take-up, vaccine resistance still remains a major cause for concern as we look to move into the next stage of the global roll-out, with ongoing speculation around the make-up of the treatment, also its potential impacts, still rife among medical misinformation groups and pseudoscience proponents. Anyhow, medical experts agree that this is the best way forward, and the most effective, and safest way to get us back to normal life as soon as possible.
As such, it’s important for social media platforms, which provide the greatest reach between individuals, to implement initiatives like this to encourage vaccine take-up.
It may seem like a tiny step, in relative terms, but its impact could be meaningful.