The coronavirus vaccine is still hitting the streets worldwide, marking the continued fight against the virus as the pandemic continues to rage and grow. The rollout of the vaccine is already an uphill battle and many in the public are reluctant to take the vaccine in the current era. Anti-vaccination movements have been prevalent in recent years, while misinformation about COVID-19 and other diseases spreads online quicker than ever.
According to TMZ, the medical and scientific community is looking to push back against the anti movements with inspiration from the past. At the top of the list is Elvis Presley, one of the biggest celebrities in history and the face of the polio vaccine in 1956. While politicians have been the main public figures to receive the vaccine to this point, and many aren’t exactly taking the news well.
That’s why the medical professionals working on the U.S. efforts against the coronavirus, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, would like to have a major celebrity, athlete and other famous names to share video or publicly receive their shot. All is an effort to curb fears and combat any misinformation about the safety of the vaccine.
Presley’s involvement became necessary in 1956 for similar reasons. Many refused to take the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk, with only 10 percent of young people in New York City getting the shot after it was available for a year. According to The Washington Post, the March of Dimes reached out to 21-year-old Elvis to help before his iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show to perform “Hound Dog.”
He is setting a fine example for the youth of the country,” a doctor involved in the process said at the time. The publicity from Presley’s inoculation did the trick and those who received the vaccine themselves later received photos of the singer taken backstage.
Today’s celebrities include Instagram influencers, musicians, movie stars and many more that could step in to fill the shoes of Presley. Beyonce is the name that The Washington Post floats, who could easily influence countless people to grab the vaccine.
Still, The Washington Post points out that it wasn’t Elvis alone that changed the tide with the polio vaccine. Elvis had a “marginal impact,” with the real thrust coming when March of Dimes sat down with young people and learned why they avoided the shot. They also asked the teens and others about joining the promotion of the cause.
Teens Against Polio would urge popular students to receive their vaccine shot in front of classmates and held gatherings called “Salk Hops” that only welcomed attendees that could prove they had been vaccinated.
“They advised that print material for teens needed to be concise and ‘written by teens, for teens, with teen language,'” The Washington Post points out in a piece from Stephen Mawdsley in the journal Cultural and Social History. “To be attractive, they suggested pamphlets employ pictures and catchy slogans, such as ‘Don’t Balk at Salk. Roll up your sleeve, Steve. It’s the most.'”
By the end of the 1950s, polio cases had dropped by 90 percent, showing the success of the efforts and PR campaigns. The same won’t be easily achieved in today’s world despite the deadly nature of the coronavirus. More groups have been vocal about not taking the vaccine. Trust in celebrities and politicians is lower than ever and the power of the internet has proven to be formidable against older methods.
So who will step up? Who will do their part to ensure the vaccine makes its way across the nation? Will people believe someone like Beyonce? Would Donald Trump be willing to take his vaccine publicly?
Original posted at popculture.com