[THREAD] Here's my analysis about why the upcoming TV Vaxxathon is the tonic that New Zealanders didn't know they needed. Let’s break down why it makes sense from the perspective of some important psychological and social concepts, too.
1. 1. Collective / Individual action. Although the ‘Team of 5 Million’ is a well-worn and accepted phrase, it’s fallen into disrepair in recent months.
As we exited from the first phase of the pandemic, regional lockdowns & the plight of Kiwis overseas trying to return home, and the experience of those that have got back has fractured this national identity.
Add to this the reported stigma of being a recovered COVID-19 patient, or an increasing number of people grappling with long covid symptoms, and we can see that the balance has tipped to a more individualised experience.
The vaccine campaign tries to strike the balance of protecting ourselves to protect our community - but the experience of getting a vaccine is individual, mostly.
A televised Vaxxathon with regional and national stories and numbers is a great opportunity for the country to come together with a sense of hope to increase both our individual and collective sense of togetherness and protection in dealing with the threat of the pandemic.
And what better way to come together than breaking down the individualised, atomised experience of our social media feeds to come around the TV and share in the cheesy experience of the Vaxxathon. It’s a shared experience and reinforces the idea that we are not alone.
2. Information and Social Proof. We know that when the situation is uncertain; we seek information from those we trust, and who we recognise as similar to us, or who may have had similar qualms and questions, but who took the vaccine in the end.
But it’s more than just information that acts as a prompt to come forward to vaccination. When we are feeling unsure, we look at people we trust and respect to figure out the ‘correct’ way to behave.
This is a phenomenon known as social proof, which is fueled by the assumptions others in your network know more about a situation than you do. It is also part of our evolutionary programming.
In uncharted territory it’s best to stick with the herd and move with the herd, lest we become an outlier, too slow to respond, and get picked off by the predator.
This Vaxxathon is a fantastic opportunity for trusted recognised leaders and celebrities not only to answer questions about the vaccine that people would like answers to, but also to encourage them to show up in particular places for face-to-face conversations where possible too.
Through regional and national TV coverage that is geared just as much towards entertainment as it is towards education, ppl can see others just like them, lining up for the vaccine, seeing the process of what happens, & hearing conversations and stories about their experience too
This may help people develop enough confidence to come forwards to vaccination themselves, quickly and at a significant scale.
3. Renewing the Government’s social license. A social license is complex with many definitions, but let me just call it the ability of G'ment to carry out its business because of the confidence society has that it will behave legitimately, with accountability & responsibly
In my previous post and thread, you’ll see that this is tricky right now, with the challenge of further incursion of the Delta variant meaning a pivot away from a pure elimination approach to … something else that hasn’t been so clearly articulated.
While we hope they will further develop this articulation, what they have made clear is the process by which we prepare ourselves to move to another stage.
This then becomes the arena in which there needs to be confidence and trust while we wait for the next staging post in our pandemic journey to be outlined with more clarity.
The vaxxathon is about offering high visibility for the vaccine process, to improve and increase trust that this is the right action for everyone to take, and to offer hope and visible progress towards increasing protection for all of us, together.
This is also about securing a social license that moving into the next stage of the pandemic is a shared responsibility, rather than solely being about the Government offering large acts of protection.
Government can do what Government can do to prepare the wider health and economic system for what is about to come next. But the Vaxxathon is about offering hope, information, trusted faces and voices, social proof, a whole heap of stories, & a collective experience once again.
Get into it. I’m double-vaccinated already, but I’m going to have a blast with this vaxxathon. This thread is also available as a blog post here: sarbjohal.com/blog/2021/10/1…

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More from @sarb

14 Oct
I can't help myself. I'm going to listen to the new Coldplay album. I'll be on the watch for further symptoms.
Coldplay's first album came out just as I set off on my first round-the-world adventure, when I first came to New Zealand and decided that I would like to spend more time here. When I returned to London, the entire city was full of Coldplay.
I was also beginning my clinical training at UCL in London, where the band members - Chris Martin (Greek & Latin), Will Champion (Anthropology), Jonny Buckland (Mathematics) and Guy Berryman, who studied at UCL for a year - met in UCL's Ramsay Hall in 1996.
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11 Oct
[THREAD] ​​We have complex feelings about the pandemic response right now. Here’s why. Impending doom and an overwhelming sense of grief for all that we may have lost, even as the pandemic has played out over the last 20 months in New Zealand...
This is the gist of just some conversations and expressions I’ve heard over the past few days. Why are we feeling like this? Why now?
When the pandemic hit in early 2020 in other places in the world, they didn’t have time to relish or savour what they had compared to other places. Everyone started in the same place. Some countries were slow to react and underestimated the threat.
Read 25 tweets
9 Sep
[WELLBEING THREAD] Keep going Auckland! Thanks for your work. Rest of NZ: keep vigilant, scan, , stay distant, book a vax & test if you’ve symptoms. Here’s 5 ways to boost your wellbeing through the weekend and beyond.
Living the good life, flourishing, joy, & purpose: Is it possible to experience any of these in the middle of a chaotic world and in lockdown? Yes, we can. The PERMA model shows us how
These five elements or components (PERMA; Seligman, 2012) are; Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning & Accomplishments. Here’s what you can do to boost each one of these:
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26 Aug
[WELLBEING THREAD] Preparing for lockdown decision announcement today. Frustration, irritation with yourself and others, and distress are common experiences when we are under chronic stress and it feels like there is no way out.
When your stress hormones are continually pumping because your threat system is active, it’s hard to see things as they are.
Some research suggests that when people experience frustration in the day, they tend to have more frightening dreams at night. It’s as if the mind is trying to process and make sense of experiences we find psychologically distressing when we are awake.
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25 Aug
[WELLBEING THREAD] With 2 days til the next NZ Alert Level decisions, if you’re going to feel tempted to cut corners + other risky behaviour, it’ll be around now. Here’s what you need to know to stick to the plan to STAY HOME + stay safe to protect yourself and others
Sticking to lockdown rules can be hard. It takes self-control. After exerting self-control for a few days, you can feel less motivated to continue (although you could do it if you REALLY had to). How can you find that motivation?
For example, you’ve been sticking to your eating plan all day with a healthy breakfast and lunch, and even resisted the donuts being offered around work in the afternoon.
Read 13 tweets
24 Aug
[WELLBEING THREAD] Lethargy and stress-related fatigue: Lockdowns can cause temporary stress that can be painful but bearable. But as you continue, with chronic stress begins to take its toll on your body
Maybe you can’t sleep, or you’re sleeping too much. Perhaps you’ve got headaches where you never used to have them, or they’ve got worse. Maybe you digestive system has gone haywire. Or perhaps you find yourself irritable or burst into tears and you can’t quite figure out why
All of these are signs of chronic stress.
But another sign is feeling constantly tired, feeling slow, and finding it difficult to plan and make decisions. Add all those other signs together as well as the toll on your physiology of constant stress hormones pumping through you...
Read 9 tweets

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