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The topic of vaccination has long been a tricky business. Especially in recent months, it seems to have gained a place on the list of conversational taboos, where we typically put topics related to politics or religion. If we actually decide to have a conversation about vaccination, it can easily escalate into a conflict. Part of the society is for vaccination, the other part is violently against it. Nevertheless, vaccination is the only way for Czech as well as foreign leaders to gain the upper hand in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. What vaccination campaigns have individual countries bet on and which celebrities have joined them?

The history of vaccination goes back to the laboratory of British scientist Edward Jenner, who is considered the founder of vaccinology as we know it today. In 1796, he vaccinated a thirteen-year-old boy with the vaccinia virus, a virus close to the vaccinia virus. The boy subsequently showed immunity to smallpox. Two years later, the first vaccine was developed. Systematic, worldwide vaccination of the population took place during the 18th and 19th centuries. Subsequent vaccination coverage has led to worldwide immunization of the population and the gradual eradication of smallpox. The principle of vaccination is that it helps the immune system to overcome the disease. In most cases, it prevents infection or alleviates the course of the disease.

"Once the population reaches the point of collective immunity, the disease is unlikely to spread. The estimate for COVID-19 is that about 50 to 80 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated,"

explains MUDr. Serpil Erzurum, President of the Lerner Institute.

Even positive statistics are not enough for some people to develop confidence in vaccination. Side by side with information on the positive effects of vaccination, a lot of misinformation spreads like wildfire. The line between truth and lie is very thin. In the huge number of articles published every day, the readers don't have time to verify the sources, which nurtures prejudices and fears. It is therefore no wonder that some people are triggered by the topic of vaccination like a bull by the colour red. Declining confidence in vaccines greatly complicates the current coronavirus pandemic. It's often incredibly hard for experts to persuade the public to get their shots. Good marketing and the right face at the forefront of the campaign is the key to success. Statesmen and dignitaries all around the world are getting involved in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns with hopes of convincing the public.

Rodinný dům na prodej Praha 4 - Braník - 217m
Rodinný dům na prodej Praha 4 - Braník - 217m, Praha 4

Kate and William as the faces of the British vaccination campaign

From time immemorial, the British royal family has been a symbol of Great Britain and a role model for many English people. No wonder the young royal couple themselves called on the public to get their shots, stressing the importance of the vaccine. Prince William and his wife Kate spoke in a video call to two women who are in the priority group for vaccination but were afraid of getting their shots. The royal couple, who have already been vaccinated themselves, reassured them and warned against the fake news spreading on social networks.

"We've got to keep it going so the younger generations also feel that it's really important for them to have it,"

said Prince William. In the UK, almost 20 million people have already been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine.

Kate a William při videohovoru.
Kate a William při videohovoru. • Source: Profimedia

A campaign in Spanish for Hispanic communities

Only 40% of people in black and Hispanic communities in the United States report they have enough information about COVID-19 vaccination. That's why the campaign called "It's up to you" was created, it's full of celebrities and aims to convince this particular part of the population to get vaccinated. Key faces include celebrities such as neurosurgeon and medical reporter Sanjay Gupta, actress Rosie Perez and rapper Daveed Diggs. The campaign is available in both English and Spanish. It's in the form of short spots. Neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, as a physician, was among the first to receive the vaccine - on a live stream. In the promotional video, he leads a dialogue with rapper Daveed Diggs:

"I'm nervous, I need to write songs. Will I still be able to do it? ”

Diggs asks.

"It will be all right, Daveed. Science is what we need. The vaccine is safe, my friend. It will end the pandemic,"

Gupta reassures him in the video. The campaign also includes a redirection to the official website, which answers the most common questions regarding vaccination.

Neurochirurg a reportér Sanjay Gupta.
Neurochirurg a reportér Sanjay Gupta. • Source: Profimedia

Concerns about fair distribution of the vaccine in the DPRK

Although the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has been insisting on there being no contagion in the country throughout the pandemic, it has at the same time put certain measures in place and curtailed international trade. According to the latest reports from the World Health Organization, North Korea will also participate in the vaccination campaign. They already have cooling boxes ready for vaccines. Despite the large number of limited resources, the entire campaign is expected to run in the name of public health, as are all pandemic restrictions. Nevertheless, there are still concerns that the vaccine won't be distributed fairly.

The South African president has launched a vaccination campaign

Sixty-eight-year-old President Cyril Ramaphosa became one of the first South Africans to receive the coronavirus vaccine. He first asked the nurse if he could close his eyes, then laughed. The live crowd applauded.

"At first I was a little scared of the long needle that was supposed to stab me in the arm, but it was so fast I didn't feel any pain,"

said Cyril Ramaphosa after getting his shot. South Africa is dealing with more than 1,500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 50,000 deaths. They have high hopes in vaccination and call on citizens to get their shots.

Prezident Cyril Ramaphosa.
Prezident Cyril Ramaphosa. • Source: Profimedia

Australia relies on experts

The Australian government has secured almost 54 million doses of AstraZeneca and 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech. That's more than enough for the entire Australian population, but the willingness to get vaccinated keeps declining. According to a recent study, only three out of five Australians said they were willing to get their shots. However, at least four out of five people are needed to ensure collective immunity. The government is now trying to come up with ways to persuade enough people to get vaccinated. For the moment, they rely on experts because they believe that people are most likely to be swayed by facts.

"I have received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with the beautiful Jane Malysiak, the first person in Australia to be vaccinated. We remind you that vaccination is free and voluntary for everyone in Australia. Our own doctors have found it safe and effective,"

encourages Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister, on his Twitter account.

Citizens of South Park are demanding the COVID-19 vaccine

News that President Joe Biden had received the vaccine has travelled the world. But US marketing has gone even further! Do you remember the American animated series for adults, South Park? It's best known for its black humour, satire and rough language. Now it's back - right in the middle of a global pandemic. The episode entitled "Vaccination Special" is devoted to the theme of Covid vaccination. It's full of pandemic-related humour and doesn't forget to mention the success Israel has achieved. In the episode, everyone is trying to get the vaccine at all costs, because those who have been vaccinated enjoy significant advantages. However, only the elderly can get a shot, because there isn't enough vaccine. As a result of that, seniors are the only ones who can go to bars and nightclubs. If you'd like to watch the special episode, you can find it on the official South Park website.

South Park.
South Park. • Source: ©Comedy Central/Courtesy Everett Collection/Profimedia

When will the whole planet reach immunity?

Because vaccination is only effective if enough people get their shots, the goal of pharmaceutical companies is to make these vaccines available to people around the world and to persuade the majority of the population to get vaccinated. Currently, more than 836 million people have been vaccinated worldwide - at least with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The highest vaccination coverage has been reached in Israel, where over 55% of the population have already received their first dose and 49.9% the second, and the country is a shining example of vaccination bearing fruit. In the Czech Republic, 9.46% of the population has been vaccinated so far. For comparison, in a similarly large Sweden, 8.9% of the population has been vaccinated to date.

We'll have to wait a while longer before we reach global immunization. According to current estimates, it is likely to take another 3-4 years for all of the world's most vulnerable groups to get vaccinated.

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