In 1977, measles was spreading across the U.S. in outbreaks of epidemic proportions. Less than 70% of children had been immunized due, in part, to a public backlash against swine flu vaccinations, which were rumored to be deadly. Fortunately, the CDC got help from two of the nation's top celebrities.
20th Century Fox gave special permission to the CDC to use a photo of the Star Wars droids for a poster that was distributed to state and local health departments.
An article in the journal, Public Health Reports, noted:
The poster has proved to be so popular that it has entered its second printing. The posters have been used as a reward to individual children who complete the basic immunization series, as reminders to parents in doctors' offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, and as attention grabbers in announcing mass immunization clinics at schools and shopping centers. The poster is also drawing increased attention to child health in conjunction with projects sponsored as part of the International Year of the Child celebration.
Could C-3PO and R2-D2 change the minds of anti-vaxxers today? Or, maybe the colossal robots from Pacific Rim would be more persuasive…
[Poster image: U.S. National Library of Medicine]