Inject me with this news.
As a relieving end to the infamous trainwreck that was 2020, COVID-19 vaccinations are being rolled out progressively across the world. In fact, Singapore’s healthcare workers have already begun receiving them from 30 Dec 2020. Despite our reduction in community cases, there is still a new UK COVID-19 strain that’s making its way across the world. And in order to allay potential risks, it’s only a matter of time before Singaporeans begin making beelines to get themselves vaccinated — queue “vaxxies”.
A term coined by New York Times, CNN describes “vaxxies” to be “the new selfies, taken with a needle in your arm”. While they aren’t exactly a thing yet in Singapore, politicians and public figures in the United States have taken to sharing videos and photographs of themselves getting vaccinated. To date, the country has seen more than 20 million cases and 346,000 people who have died to the virus.
Vaxxie – sounds lame, almost ridiculous, but oh so influential. And educational.
In the marketing world, social recommendations are amongst the most powerful ways to convince people to purchase from your brand. In the same vein, the power of a vaxxie is likely more valuable than that of a selfie.
The modern social age means that practically everyone’s an influencer. The average person could be considered a micro-influencer, with a larger power to influence their friends and followers with social recommendations that are less “commercial”. On the other hand, politicians and celebrities are able to influence masses who share similar values, with the tools to provide education to their following.
It goes without saying that at the moment, much of the public remains less educated about the COVID-19 vaccines than they’d like to be. But to add to the list of things that we wish stayed in 2020, we’ve seen a slew of anti-vaxxers fearmongering and questioning the efficacy of the vaccines, as well as potential side effects.
One of the biggest misconceptions that remains about the COVID-19 vaccine is that they’re a micro-dosage of the virus itself. In actuality, the vaccine merely contains the spike protein that the COVID-19 virus, which the human body will develop a response to. In doing so, the receiver will be armed to recognise the virus from its protein and fight it, should it enter their body.
And if you didn’t know that prior, it’s fine, because most people are learning it from social media.
Even if you’re wary of the vaccine’s efficacy, there’s no doubt that you’ll find the answers that you seek on social media.
And on a much larger scale, politicians, healthcare workers, and celebrities who have taken the vaccine are using their vaccines as proof of what they’re advocating for, i.e., for everyone to take them. Apart from healthcare workers, some of the influential public figures who’ve taken the vaccine include physician Anthony Fauci, US President-elect Joe Biden, and US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
A search for the hashtag #NotThrowingAwayMyShot will reveal masses of vaxxies by healthcare workers, who are getting their shots. Many healthcare workers have also taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to sharing their vaxxies with the hashtag. In this video, Methodist Healthcare staff danced to a hit song from the Broadway hit “Hamilton”, in which there is a line that says “I’m not throwing away my shot”.
Other healthcare workers have also poked fun at anti-vaxxers who have been proposing irrational side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine. In a CNN interview, physician Jonathan David Tijerina joked that the injection gave him superpowers, allowing him to see through walls.
But on a more serious note, the physician aired his hope for vaxxies, saying that he’d like to hope “it’s mostly encouraging”. In the same news video, CNN reporter Jeanne Moos observed that vaxxies could create “vaccine envy” which may have a positive impact in invigorating more people to get themselves vaccinated.
On a separate Instagram post, Tijerina wrote, “making ourselves available to help field questions and concerns from our non-medical friends is incredibly important right now. Being transparent about this experience will help bridge the gap between the complicated science… and the people across the world who can benefit”.
Don’t throw away your shot. Singapore’s time for vaxxies is soon.
If you’re planning to get vaccinated, it might seem surprising to you that there are Singaporeans among us who are anti-vaxxers, especially given the efficient vaccinating system that we all experience when we’re young. And for that reason, our vaxxies may hold more value than we think they might. It’s important that we continue to educate ourselves on the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially Pfizer’s one, for which information is easier to access right now.
More than just a selfie, vaxxies are great opportunities to provide education and to dispel myths, with honesty. On a simpler level, they’re a note of how you’ve taken a stand and contributed to helping rid the world of COVID-19. But even if that sounds a little far-fetched to you, there’s definitely some fun to be had in posting a picture of a brand new experience.
And on the off chance that someone else takes the vaccine just to be part of the vaxxie club, that’s one less potential virus carrier who’s walking Singapore.
COVID-19 vaccinations have begun in Singapore for healthcare workers. The elderly will begin to get them starting February 2021, and the rest of the population is slated to get them by the end of 2021. When the time comes for you to get your skin pricked, will you be marking the moment with a vaxxie?
Join the conversations on THG’s Facebook and Instagram, and get the latest updates via Telegram.