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Popular Culture and Vaccines

By 

René F. Najera, DrPH

December 7, 2019

Throughout history, public health workers, agencies and those who supported them have used different kinds of media to encourage vaccination. Benjamin Franklin used . Cartoonists used their talents to support Jenner's vaccine: [caption id="attachment_2000" align="alignnone" width="3372"]
Jenner and his two colleagues seeing off three anti-vaccination opponents, the dead are littered at their feet. Colored etching by I. Cruikshank, 1808. Credit: . [/caption] Today, there are many types of media that can be used to promote vaccination. The advent of social networks has made the dissemination of these materials cheap and simple. Technologies like smartphones with cameras and video software embedded in them have also made it simple to create videos. One recent trend in vaccine promotion has been to take popular songs and replace the lyrics with something pro-vaccine. Here is a sample of some videos created by individuals and groups to promote vaccination. First, is “My Shot (Vaccine Version)” a parody of “” from the musical Hamilton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEX80FNMOfE Another parody of the same song by , a pediatrician and his collagues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G9UTO0u-2Y ZDogg, MD (real name ) created a parody of “” to talk about vaccines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vQOM91C7us Another parody, this time of “”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3K6zmT1WuI From Australia, a group of kids give us their take on vaccines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW54z1cIYv8 A lecturer at Brown University gave a lecture on the vaccine cultural controversy and punctuated it with his own parody song of “” by Bon Jovi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZnrsi74Izc Here is a song about the influenza vaccine, a parody of “”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d803X-BQ3xs Finally, a song about the 1918 influenza pandemic, with some interesting visuals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV938U4Y96w If you have any other videos that we should know about, feel free to share them in the comments.

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