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PinningMe – developed out of grief, now delivering hope

Wearing a pin that says you’ve been vaccinated with a map of Rhode Island is almost more eye-catching than wearing a mask. The question that’s on everyone’s mind – have you gotten “the shots”? – “are you vaccinated”? First it was more out of curiosity as to who was quick enough to grab a rare vaccine appointment – from the entrepreneurial people who knew to set their alarms for midnight at the first go-rounds, to those who had multiple family members armed with personal information to use to help them get an appointment.

Now, however, shots are more easily accessible – and soon may be plentiful. Yet, it is estimated that some 30% of people may hesitate to get vaccinated. Dispelling myths and legitimate concerns can sometimes be done by giving out printed materials and directing people to websites or videos – but even the best public health and PR professionals know there is nothing more effective than having a one-to-one conversation with people about why they took the vaccine – how they felt afterwards – and how they got their appointment – and why it is so important. Especially in a time when virus variants are spreading quickly and only vaccines can protect us from yet another uptick.

Talk has turned to vaccine passports, apps on phones, etc. All of this will take time to develop. And this virus has been nothing but a race against time, and a fierce enemy.

A Rhode Islander, Nathan Kocon, founder of PinningMe.com, is offering pins vaccinated people can wear to proudly proclaim their prowess at getting an appointment and receiving their vaccines. It’s a way to start a conversation with others. And – it’s a badge of courage – in this terrible time of pandemic. While we all get a postcard when we’ve been vaccinated, this pin could best be called our “badge of courage”.

Stories can be generated, with people often telling stories about loved ones lost, or having an emotional reaction to getting a vaccine – people who laughed and jumped up and down, and others who quietly cried while waiting out their 15 minutes after a shot is given.

Nathan also has a story. He tells us that “I started making this line of COVID Vaccinated pins after one of my childhood friends passed away during the pandemic. I feel like we’re doing something positive (in his memory). The story is still emotional to talk about, but like many of us I was dealing with a lot of grief over his loss.

So, for me, this is part business, part therapy, and part charitable giving. As we’ve been able to sell more pins, we’ve been making donations to local police, fire departments and to the staff working at vaccination sites.

We realize the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all in different ways; some as visible as a mask, and others in a way the world may never see. With the rollout of several COVID-19 vaccines, there’s a new message of hope to share with the world – ‘I’ve been “COVID-19 VACCINATED. We are proud to offer our latest line of “COVID-19 VACCINATED” pins as a visible way to share the message on a daily basis and encourage others to receive it as well.”

It’s the latter reason – “to encourage others to receive [the vaccine] as well” that speaks most closely to Kocon’s heart and passion for this effort.

Kocon is quick to advise people – and to trust that they – will wear the pin AFTER being vaccinated – to show they’ve taken that step and are protecting their health and those in their community. It can be used as a conversation starter to engage those who may be hesitant because of questions they need to have answered, or reassurances hearing of someone else’s experience. They are now working to be able to offer the pins at vaccination sites and are meeting with success and lots of visibility.

Kocon said they’ve been able to donate pins to frontline workers, first responders and vaccination sites, and cities and towns that may be interested.

They are currently offering online sales of their featured designs and also accepting custom orders for quantities of 500 and above.

All of our products are made in the USA. Customization or a different design may be arranged, and a custom sketch of your idea can be created in 1-3 days and production will begin in 5-7 days.

Please contact us here or by email at nathan@pinningme.com or by phone at 401-465-8081.

To learn more or to place an order, visit pinningme.com.

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