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Bryan Walsh's parents after getting their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Photo: Bryan Walsh's mother

People are lighting up social media with COVID-19 vaccination selfies.

Why it matters: After a long, hard year with COVID-19, vaccine selfies offer a much-needed dose of hope — and act as an advertisement for those on the fence about getting vaccinated.

What's happening: About 54 million people in the U.S. have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, and you could be forgiven for thinking that nearly all of them are on your social media feed.

What they're saying: Vaccine selfies are a "sign that we just might be able to get things together again," journalist Maya Kosoff wrote in the Washington Post this week.

The other side: Some critics argue it's bad form to post vaccine selfies, given both the sheer number of people who have died from COVID-19 and the fact that distribution of the vaccine is still wildly unequal.

  • And it's definitely a bad idea to include your vaccination card in any vaccine selfie you post online, as it could expose you to identity theft.

Yes, but: As manufacturing ramps up, the challenge around vaccine distribution will move from one of supply to one of demand.

  • New survey data from Pew Research Center indicates 69% of the U.S. public intends to get vaccinated or already has.
  • That's up significantly from 60% in November, but it still leaves a large chunk of the country — especially white Republicans — who need to be convinced.
  • Given that fact, vaccine selfies seem less like showing off on social media than playing a pro-social part in normalizing vaccination.

The bottom line: Whatever you do after you get your vaccine, you'll have a hard time beating Gurdeep Pandher, who posted a video of himself dancing Bhangra in the Yukon after receiving his first dose.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Mar 5, 2021 - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

Retail sales flat in April after huge surge in March

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April retail sales in the U.S. were unchanged from March, which saw a surge revised up to 10.7%, according to the latest Commerce Department report published Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has been entering a period of growing optimism in the wake of the vaccine rollout, falling new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and a slowly recovering labor market. Retail sales were up 51% year-over-year compared to April 2020.

Policy group lays groundwork for "net negative" emissions tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new policy roadmap provides Congress and the White House with ways to support the growth of methods to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using everything from existing forests to direct air capture machines.

Driving the news: Recent climate studies, such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1.5-degree report, have pointed to the clear need for society to pursue strategies for driving carbon emissions into negative territory by the latter half of the century.