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How athletes can help us beat the coronavirus pandemic



Jerome Adams could have appealed to anyone. Any scientist, politician or celebrity in the United States. As one of the most powerful public health figures in the United States, American surgeons chose him as him. But last week, when Adams directed an interview with Los Angeles TV to interview the COVID-19 vaccine, he turned to sports when he sought out a famous person to help the country’s cause.

“LeBron James,” he said blankly. “I want to know when you are going to shoot. Not basketball shots, but COVID shots.”

To some people, his message seemed embarrassing. Maybe cliché, maybe weird. James is one of the healthiest 36-year-old girls on the planet, and he is not a close behind producer of the coronavirus vaccine. Like other major leagues, the NBA plans to wait for its turn.

But in the public health community, Adams’ message reflects a growing belief that outstanding sports figures can eventually help the United States escape the pandemic.

Sherry Pagoto, Professor of Health Communication at UConn, said: “Star athletes have unique opportunities for influence here.”

Society desires a normal life. Reacquiring the vaccine will depend on the wide acceptance of the vaccine. Experts say that sports professionals can promote vaccine acceptance in many ways. Skepticism is decreasing, but it is still considerable. Therefore, throughout 2021

, public awareness campaigns will persuade skeptics to stand by.Steven Hoffman, a professor at York University, studied this issue. He said: “Actually, athletes may be [some] The best and most effective messenger. “

Most sports programs are still in the early stages, and vaccines are still several months away from public availability. However, health departments in some cities and states have told Yahoo Sports that sports figures will “affirm” or may be involved. Spokespersons for two famous university coaches said that these coaches would be willing to participate. Adam Silver stated that the NBA “is likely to be part of certain public service activities.” The Ad Council launched a $50 million “national vaccine education effort” and told Yahoo Sports ( Yahoo Sports), it is “exploring cooperation with athletes.” Experts hope that some people can get the vaccine on the camera.

Pagoto said that because of visible, informed advocacy “can do well.” “To be honest, this will be a hero.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James ran on his way to the court before the NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in San Diego on Sunday, September 30, 2018.  (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Experts say that LeBron James’ influence may help promote vaccination. (Associated Press)

Why athletes can be influential messengers

The vaccine is a scientific miracle. A group of qualified scientists believe that Pfizer and Moderna are safe and effective. But Brown’s professor of behavioral medicine, Carly Goldstein, explained, “One problem for scientists is that we are really terrible in the field of public relations.” They spend thousands of hours on complex science. They spend very little money to build public trust.

Therefore, when they need it, as they do now, they turn to the person who has it. Texas State University medical anthropologist Emily Brunson (Emily Brunson) said that the quality of celebrities, “there is indeed a group of audience who really pay attention to them.”

Brunson and three other experts interviewed for this report recently collaborated with the National Institutes of Health to provide recommendations to resolve vaccine hesitation. Their report concluded that among many other Americans, public figures will “become important partners in communicating with audiences who are unlikely to participate in messages disseminated by the government, traditional media, or scientists.” The National Institutes of Health Sylvia Chou, a staff member of Sylvia Chou, who wrote the paper, admitted that public health officials “sometimes have difficulties in bridging certain social and political divides. So I think this is a huge opportunity for athletes The place.”

Experts say that their strength lies in their praise and influence. Hoffman wrote a paper on how celebrities influence health-related behaviors in 2015. He said: “Humans strictly follow celebrity’s advice in biology, psychology and society. …they talk about it or do it themselves Anything will add golden light to those products or actions.

“They also have a lot of social media [followings] And social networks. In this way, when they do something, they affect others, affect others, and so on. Celebrities directly influence decision-making. They also indirectly help normalize it.

Every expert interviewed for this story said that athletes are indeed under the umbrella of “celebrity”.

Goldstein said: “For various reasons, I am especially excited about athletes, even more excited than other celebrities.”

The reasons given by her and others include:

  • Athletes are often regarded as role models for good health.

  • If the vaccine is not safe, then athletes will suffer the most – because any major, long-term side effects can ruin their careers.

  • Athletes have extensive influence in many social and political fields. The hesitancy of vaccines is also demographically diverse. For example, sports represented by James and Tom Brady may cause widespread suspicion. Goldstein said: “The charm of professional sports in particular is that almost everyone has an athlete.”[Sports] Attracted the American public in ways that many other industries could not really achieve. “

  • Many popular athletes are black and have considerable influence in the black community-because of distrust of medical care, vaccine hesitation often exists.

  • Athletes have close geographic ties with the cities represented by their teams, so even if they are not considered celebrities nationwide, they are the main candidates for local elections.

The vaccine campaign is largely a local effort. Several experts urged athletes to work with their respective city or state health departments to find out how they can help. Experts say that because this is critical, the message can be delivered correctly.

However, some superstars will cover the whole country. A recent Harris poll reported that about a quarter of Americans said that if they saw James, Brady, Serena Williams or Michael Jordan get vaccinated first, they would be more willing to get vaccinated. vaccine. Even a small part of the impact may cause the herd immunity threshold of some communities to exceed the normal range.

How and when athletes can help

However, there is also the question of when these athletes should receive the vaccine. The first few weeks of the vaccine’s launch were full of photo manipulation. But athletes cannot participate now because they are not required workers. They are not more than 65 years old. Most people have no underlying conditions, which puts them at greater risk. They are wary of optics. Many alliances have jumpers for testing. But their commissioner said they would not buy vaccines. Older coaches and former athletes can vaccinate publicly more quickly, perhaps with similar social effects. But the active athletes, the athletes who attract the most spectators, seem ready to wait.

However, this does not mean that they cannot use their influence. Brunson pointed to Steph Curry and his interview with Anthony Fauci. She said that lending a huge platform to experts “may be particularly powerful.” Sharing “pro-social” information can also help. Experts suggest that PSA express the willingness and desire of athletes to be vaccinated when they turn to – and also call on fans to follow suit for the benefit of their own communities and even the entire stadium.

Spring is here, the queue may clear. The athlete will move forward in an inch. Impressive skeptics will keep their eyes and ears wide open. Of course, some athletes will be suspicious of themselves. Experts say this may ultimately make their advocacy more influential. Several sources urged them to convert photo manipulations into immersive videos. Really talk about previous concerns; explain how they overcome them, which doctors they consulted and why they eventually received the vaccine. Doing so will help the public who may be addressing similar feelings of anxiety.

Experts also recommend that athletes follow up after taking pictures. Update any symptoms or side effects of the fans; and show that they feel good a few days after the injection.

Goldstein said: “Helping people do all these tasks, athletes can really do it.” “We don’t need them to be doctors. We need them to connect with the humanities of people who look to them.”

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