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Vaccine selfies are the new social media trend, but also a reminder of unequal access – Penticton Western News

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In the old influencer economy, sun-kissed vacation pictures and glossy group shots were among the most valuable forms of social media currency. Now, these pandemic-flouting posts would be cause for public derision.

But a new type of photo has taken their place to induce FOMO — fear of missing out — across the online sphere: the vaccine selfie.

Photos of Canadians smiling beneath their masks as they roll up their sleeves to show off their bandages are increasingly cropping up on social media feeds as the country’s immunization campaign expands to new segments of the population.

Experts say these selfies can encourage others to overcome their vaccine hesitancy, but may also incite jealousy among those who aren’t eligible to book their appointments.

Ara Yeremian, a realtor in Vaughan, Ont., shared his vaccine selfie across social media platforms after receiving his first dose in January as the caregiver to his 91-year-old parents who live in a long-term care home.

“I wanted everybody to know that I was doing well and it’s safe to take,” said Yeremian. “Being able to be part of the solution makes me really happy.”

Ryan Quintal, a registered practical nurse in London, Ont., said he felt it was his “duty” as a health-care professional to post his selfie as a way of showing his online followers that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

The 34-year-old said the photo even prompted some friends to reach out and ask questions about getting vaccinated.

“The photo kind of represented that your turn could be coming up next,” said Quintal. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

While Yeremian and Quintal say the reactions to their vaccine selfies were overwhelmingly positive, other social media users have prodding questions from commenters about how they qualified for their vaccines.

Dr. Karim Ali, director of infectious diseases for Niagara Health in Ontario, said post-injection selfies run the risk of fomenting a digital divide between the “have nots” and “have lots” of Canada’s piecemeal vaccine rollout.

Ali felt this frustration in January as he saw Toronto health-care administrators posting about getting vaccinated, while his front-line colleagues fighting an outbreak in Niagara had yet to receive their first shipment of doses.

“Vaccine envy was a real thing,” he said. “You can’t help but feel dejected. You can’t help feeling that you are left out.”

READ MORE: Canada’s total COVID-19 case count surpasses one million

Ali doesn’t judge people who want to celebrate their injections with their online followers, and believes influencers have a role to play in spreading the word about vaccine safety.

But stoking social media envy isn’t an effective public health strategy, he said, particularly when most Canadians are still patiently waiting their turn to be vaccinated.

“Think twice before you post anything,” said Ali. “There are so many people who are suffering and will continue to suffer until we get out of this.”

Krishana Sankar, science communication lead for the online platform COVID-19 Resources Canada, said vaccine selfies can be a powerful tool to combat online misinformation spreading unfounded fears about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Personal testimonials such as selfies can carry more weight than the word of health authorities, said Sankar, particularly for members of marginalized communities who may have trouble trusting the institutions that have oppressed them.

“People tend to trust people they know,” she said. “A lot of the conversations around hesitancy actually starts within that bubble of family and friends talking about their concerns about it.”

“If one person gets the vaccine, and several other people are seeing that, it causes a trickle effect.”

Sankar also cautioned social media users against prodding selfie sharers about how they qualified for their vaccinations.

While she understands that people are curious about how to secure their own place in line, Sankar said it’s wrong to question someone’s eligibility based on assumptions about their lifestyle and medical history.

Many people who may appear young and healthy could be suffering from autoimmune conditions that put them at high risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, she noted.

“A lot of people are very quick to judge and criticize others without actually having any idea of the backstory of what’s actually going on,” she said.

“A little bit of kindness can take us a far longer way.”

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press


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Applications open for Pattison Media 2021 Prairie Equity Scholarship – Lethbridge News Now

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(Lethbridge News Now)

By Pattison Media

Apr 19, 2021 12:01 PM

LETHBRIDGE, AB – Applications are now being accepted for Pattison Media’s 2021 Prairie Equity Scholarship competition.

The scholarship is aimed at broadcast and digital media students in the Prairie provinces who are part of under-represented groups.

Two awards of $2,000 will be made to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba who in 2021 are attending or planning to attend a recognized broadcast or digital media program at a post-secondary institute in one of the three provinces.

Information and application package

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‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Tops Box Office Again, Crosses $80 Million in the U.S.

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will set aside C$12 billion ($9.6 billion) to extend its main pandemic support measures in a budget to be presented on Monday, the Toronto Star reported, as much of the country battles a virulent third wave of COVID-19 infections.

The emergency wage subsidy and the emergency rent subsidy, due to expire in June, will be extended to the end of September, the Star reported on Sunday.

Separately, the government will create the “Canada Recovery Hiring Program” in June meant to help those companies depending on the wage subsidy to pivot to hiring again, the newspaper said.

The Finance Ministry declined to confirm or comment on the report. However, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp on Sunday that government pandemic supports would continue for as long as needed.

“If Canadians need that support and the pandemic continues, the government will certainly have their backs,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson also confirmed that the budget would be “ambitious” and that the government would “invest for jobs and growth to rebuild this economy,” though he also said there would be “fiscal guardrails” to put spending on a “sustainable track”.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will present the country’s first budget in two years on Monday after promising in November up to C$100 billion in stimulus over three years to “jump-start” an economic recovery during what is likely to be an election year.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the province’s borders to domestic travelers.

($1 = 1.2501 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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GLAAD Media Awards presenters support transgender athletes

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LOS ANGELES — “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Boys in the Band” were winners at the GLAAD Media Awards, which included soccer’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger calling for transgender students to be accepted as “part of the team” in sports.

Harris and Krieger, spouses who play for the Orlando Pride and were on the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, presented an award in Thursday’s virtual ceremony to the film “Happiest Season,” about a lesbian romance.

The couple drew attention to transgender athletes amid widespread efforts to restrict their participation, including a recently signed Mississippi bill that bans them from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. It becomes law July 1.

“Trans students want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong,” Krieger said.

Added Harris: “We shouldn’t discriminate against kids and ban them from playing because they’re transgender.”

“Star Trek: Discovery,” “I May Destroy You” and “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” were among the other projects honoured in the pre-taped ceremony hosted by Niecy Nash. It’s available on Hulu through June.

The GLAAD awards, in their 32nd year, recognize what the media advocacy organization calls “fair, accurate, and inclusive” depictions of LGBTQ people and issues. Presenters and winners in this year’s event highlighted priorities including the importance of solidarity and self-respect.

“Friends, I’m so proud to stand with the LGBTQ community tonight, just as the LGBTQ community stands with Black and diverse communities,” said Sterling K. Brown, who presented the outstanding documentary award to “Disclosure.”

The “This Is Us” star, citing the Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter movements, said that “we’re going to keep spreading that message of unity and justice until every one of us is safe to live the lives we love.”

JoJo Siwa, the teenage YouTube personality and performer, presented the award for outstanding children’s programming to “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.” She said in January that she’s part of the LGBTQ community.

“I have the best, most amazing, wonderful girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so, so, so happy and that’s all that matters,” Siwa said. ”It’s really cool that kids all around the world who look up to me can now see that loving who you want to love is totally awesome” and should be celebrated.

Other awards went to Sam Smith, who was honoured as outstanding music artist for the album “Love Goes”; Chika, named breakthrough music artist for “Industry Games,” and “We’re Here” won outstanding reality program.

Cast members from “Glee,” including Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Jane Lynch, paid tribute to Naya Rivera and her character in the series, gay cheerleader Santana Lopez. Rivera, 33, died in an accidental drowning in July 2020.

___

Online:

https://www.glaad.org/

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press







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