Facebook has launched a new push to encourage COVID-19 vaccine take-up, with new display features on both Facebook and Instagram, and a new prompt to highlight who among your connections has had the shot.
As explained by Facebook:
"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 Instagram, you now add a new 'Let's Get Vaccinated' sticker in your Stories and posts.
These visual prompts can serve an important 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 connection to the broadest net of your friends and relatives, that could make this an important, effective push - which Facebook is looking to further expand upon with another element in its vaccination promotion effort.
"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 big impact, and previous Facebook research has underlined the value of similar pushes in encouraging participation.
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, and its potential impacts, still rife among medical misinformation groups and pseudoscience proponents. But 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 platforms, which provide the greatest reach between individuals, to implement initiatives like this to encourage take-up.
It may seem like a small step, in relative terms, but its impact could be significant.