OREGON, USA — Some doctors say vaccine hesitancy could be a barrier for communities to return to "normal" life after the COVID-19 pandemic, so one group is spearheading an independent social media campaign to fight misinformation.
The campaign is called #ThisIsOurShot.
Doctors and medical professionals around the country have used the hashtag to post pictures of themselves getting vaccinated.
Dr. Robyn Liu works in Portland and received her COVID vaccine in December 2020. She joined the social media movement, knowing not everyone is comfortable with getting the shot.
"There's no getting back to that kind of a [normal] life unless the vaccinations are as widespread as possible," Liu said.
Another doctor in southern California, Dr. Alex McDonald, helped launch the campaign.
"I'll be honest, I was vaccine-hesitant at first," McDonald said.
He knew if it took him time to research the COVID vaccine and become comfortable, others probably would need help, too.
#ThisIsOurShot aims to take a personal approach, allowing people with concerns to reach out with questions.
"It's a grassroots effort of health care heroes essentially," McDonald said. "Amplify the voices of trusted messengers in the social media space."
With a lot of vaccine misinformation on social media, McDonald said doctors are emphasizing vaccine efficacy and safety.
"No safety steps were skipped in the development of this vaccine," he said. "This is our shot...This is not about you, this is not about me, this is about all of us collectively doing our own small part to get to a COVID-free world."
Liu agreed, saying the goal is less about taking on anti-vax attitudes, but rather reaching people who may be undecided.
"Get as many of those people into the fold as we can," Liu said.
"We're not here to tell people what to do, we're here to address their questions, address their concerns, and really lead by example," McDonald added.
Doctors from many backgrounds have joined the campaign, representing different ages, genders and marginalized groups. Pregnant mothers are on board, too.
"When you really see someone who looks like you, who is in your same situation getting the shot, that helps you feel a lot more confident," Liu explained.