I Am Vaccinated Sticker, Washington D.C.

I Am Vaccinated Sticker, Washington D.C.

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Description
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak had become a pandemic. In the wake of this declaration, the federal government and pharmaceutical industry invested heavily in research for a vaccine. On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use. Seven days later, on December 18, 2020, the NIH-Moderna vaccine was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use. Both drugs required a double dose, with the second shot usually being scheduled between 3 to 6 weeks after the first dose.
While many Americans rushed to be vaccinated against COVID-19, sometimes spending hours online to obtain an appointment and traveling long distances to receive the shot, others resisted vaccination. After receiving their first and second vaccine, many of those who were vaccinated received stickers announcing their vaccination status.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans were often eager to demonstrate their vaccination status. Many believed that sharing their vaccination status would encourage others to be vaccinated. But some vaccinated Americans have also shared their vaccination status as a political statement.
This set of four stickers was given to Kathryn Gansler, a resident of the Mount Vernon neighborhood in Washington DC. As a resident of Mount Vernon which had been prioritized for vaccination, Gansler had the opportunity to be vaccinated early. But like many of the city’s residents, she struggled to get an appointment as the city’s online scheduling portal repeatedly crashed. Ultimately, she was able to schedule her appointment for March 3, 2020, the first day vaccination appointments were available in Washington DC.
She received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at the Safeway in Mount Vernon. Gansler noted that “I was so excited to get the shot that I was shaking in my seat – the pharmacist literally had to hold my arm steady.” After she received her shot, the pharmacist handed her these four stickers. Gansler noted that “Most people I saw in line for the COVID vaccines were white even though my neighborhood is majority Black. Looking at these stickers I think…about how the disparity I saw on that first day is a microcosm of my city. It also was impossible to ignore the more than 500,000 people who had already succumbed to COVID-19 by that point and never got a chance to get their shot.”
Vaccination has always been contested in the United States but throughout the spring and summer of 2021, vaccination became sharply politicized. For many, vaccination stickers made a strong political statement in a deeply polarized nation. But the stickers Gansler received are also part of a long tradition of documenting one’s vaccination status.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
sticker
Object Type
Sticker
date made
2020
Physical Description
paper, plastic (?) (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 2 in; 5.08 cm
ID Number
2021.0202.01
catalog number
2021.0202.01
accession number
2021.0202
Credit Line
Kathryn Gansler in memory of Cynthia Chatterjee
subject
COVID-19 (Disease)
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
Health
Vaccines
Health Care
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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