I was bemused when I first saw the photograph of spaced-out chairs and vaccination booths in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. Was this an art installation designed to probe the relationship between personhood and state? Were we supposed to question the transformational power of medicine, in a live enactment of biomedical transubstantiation in the cathedral-like space?
Alas, this was not art, à la Kara Walker, Olafur Eliasson or Carsten Holler. This was an NHS pop-up vaccination clinic, replete with a DJ ‘spinning tunes’. Presumably some clever behavioural psychologists have had a stab at what ‘groovy’ looks like, in an attempt to induce London’s trendy youngsters to be vaccinated.
The NHS has been running vaccination centres in many unusual places in an attempt to offer ‘convenience’ and to inspire ‘confidence’, two of the barriers to vaccine take-up.