Inspired by the Plautdietsch (Low German) take on the "I’m vaccinated" COVID-19 sticker, Tirzah Maendel wanted to do the same for members of her Manitoba community.
"I enjoy playing with graphic design ideas," said Maendel, 41, manager of HB Signs and Designs and member of the Baker Hutterite Colony.
"I loved taking a great idea and making it applicable to Hutterite culture."
The sticker, which looks like the official provincial sticker, says: "Ich bin gimpft fir COVID-19" (I am vaccinated for COVID-19"), in the Hutterisch dialect.
For Maendel, who has received both doses of the vaccine, it is a light-hearted way to promote the public health effort.
"It seems unfortunate that vaccination has become such a serious matter," she said, noting: "Of course, it is important and monumental. But this seemed like a neat way to have a touch of fun and create something cheerful and positive."
Through the sticker, she wants to "share the joy of being able to get the COVID-19 vaccine."
The province-run inoculation super sites "have such a positive vibe and immense gratitude," she added. "My hope was to celebrate and share some of that joy and relief."
In creating the sticker, Maendel wanted to also make a "hopeful nod or tip of our hat in gratitude and appreciation to provincial officials" for all their efforts to help Manitobans become safe from the deadly virus.
Leadership at her colony (located near MacGregor) is supportive of the sticker, she said, noting they have encouraged Baker members to get their shots.
There has been no pushback, Maendel said. However, she is also "careful to not flaunt it or use it to aggravate and annoy people. There definitely are some sensitivities with the idea of ‘required’ vaccinations" among some Hutterites.
So far, the reaction has only been "delighted smiles."
Although she made a few physical stickers, it is mostly being used as a digital image on social media.
One person sharing the message that way is Maendel’s sister, Frances, 46, a teacher who received shot No. 2 last week.
"I didn’t think my second dose of the vaccine would cause that many emotions, but I was in tears at the Brandon super site," she wrote on Facebook.
"I was so grateful for everyone involved, from security people outside to an incredibly organized group of people working on the floor. There was such a positive energy that comes from a deep belief in public health and assurance that this is our way out of the pandemic."
“I enjoy playing with graphic design ideas. I loved taking a great idea and making it applicable to Hutterite culture.” – Tirzah Maendel
Posting the image of the sticker on her Facebook page was a way to try to "normalize" getting vaccinated for other Hutterites, she said.
As for those in the community who elect not to get vaccinated, she respects their right to make their own decision. But she also wants them to know along with that freedom comes "a Christian responsibility" to be honest and truthful if rules are enacted to prevent non-vaccinated people from going into stores, restaurants and other places.
"Remember, I am you," she said of how their decisions might impact her and other Hutterites in Manitoba if they aren’t truthful about being vaccinated. "I look like you and bear the brunt of your decisions."
Stickers are available at the H.B. Book Centre at Baker colony, located south of MacGregor, or online.
John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.