Using artwork to encourage covid vaccinations

by: Anna McAllister for WGNO

NEW ORLEANS — Thread by thread, bead by bead.

Demond and Alicia Melancon are creating one of a kind masterpieces.

“I’ve been beading for almost thirty years. I tried to change the game with my work and put it into the art world, and change the precedent of what an artist really is,” said Demond Melancon, local artist and Big Chief of Young Seminole Hunters.

Melancon is also trying to change the game when it comes to the perception of the covid vaccine. The couple’s latest piece encourages pregnant women to get vaccinated.

“I thought that was very important cause I know a lot of people that was in the culture that needed to take the vaccine and we might have pregnant women in our culture that needed the vaccine at the time.” said Melancon.

Health experts agree, pregnant women should get the vaccine to protect themselves and their baby.

“Some OBGYNs are waiting until the first trimester, which is what I’m kind of doing, unless my patient really wants it then yes, I’m going to give it to her, I’m not going to withhold it,” said Dr. Rachel Reitan, OBGYN and assistant clinical professor with LSU Health.

Dr. Rachel also says it’s important to remember the vaccine has covid antibodies, which will be transferred from mother to baby.

“When the woman gets the antibodies, they go over the placenta and give the baby the antibodies. So, you know, technically the baby’s going to be protected against covid for the first six months of life,”

Dr. Rachel says she understands expecting mother’s concerns, but emphasized that getting the vaccine is safer than not getting it at all.

As for Melancon, he hopes his artwork will help calm the fears and clear misconceptions of the vaccine.

“People were scared to take it, so I was hoping that that would bring some awareness and bring some peace to people taking the vaccine,” said Melancon.

Dr. Rachel says if pregnant women are scheduled for a two-dose vaccine, they need to make sure they get both. She also says a common side affect is swollen lymph nodes, which she says can last two to three days.

As for Melancon and his beaded masterpieces, you can check out his portfolio at and on his Instagram page @qadamawi.