As someone who has had COVID, I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was when I first heard that vaccines were ready — but even then, still not as excited as when I started seeing COVID vaccine selfies popping up on my timeline.
Hearing the vaccine was ready and becoming available on the news was the tip of the iceberg for me. It gave me hope, but I still felt distanced from the thought of getting a vaccine and this entire nightmare potentially being over soon. But seeing friends and family members post their vaccine selfies on social media? Well, that made it real. It made a more tangible hope than the constant news reports that vaccines were out there, somewhere. It made me feel closer to the solution, and that maybe, just maybe, this seemingly never-ending year of fear, isolation, and anxiety could be coming to a close.
Putting a face to people who are socially conscious and actually do give a crap about others is so inspiring and so reassuring, especially after seeing COVID-deniers spouting their nonsense on social media, and the anti-maskers being selfish all year. From seeing the slew of vaccine selfies, I think the dissenters and the irrational people were louder and more outspoken than the reasonable people all along, and finally the reasonable people are coming out of the woodwork with their vaccine selfies.
So why do these heroes decide to post their selfies on social media for the world to see? Most folks don’t post a picture of their band aid-clad arm after receiving a flu shot — why is this so much different?
For second-year medical student Cliff Moore, he thinks it's incredibly important to normalize the process. "I also believe we should celebrate every time an arm gets the shot. Every time someone gets the vaccine, we’re a step closer to ending the pandemic and all the misery and suffering it brings. And I’m not just talking about the physical toll and death of the virus, I’m talking about the social toll, the psychological toll, the financial toll, and every other way this thing has disrupted our lives and wellbeing," he tells Romper.
"Partly because I was so excited and relieved, but also because I think there is a lot of understandable hesitation and concern about it being a new vaccine," emergency physician Dr. Ashley Larrimore tells Romper. "In my role as a physician and medical director for several EMS agencies, I am often viewed as a role model, or at the very least, as someone who is knowledgeable. I wanted friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who maybe were on the fence or had questions about getting the vaccine to see someone they knew getting vaccinated to normalize it, maybe make it less scary, and also to be a resource for people to reach out to if they had questions."
"I feel that posting a selfie really is helping bring awareness," says Jennifer Cumpton, RN, a nurse case manager in Colorado. "I know we all are hoping that people that were on the fence are going to see all this positivity and be willing to do it. I know a lot of us in the medical profession were skeptical at first as well, but with the research that had come out, I was 100% confident in this vaccine and ready to get it."
County property appraiser Jonathan Lee simply says that he wanted to post a selfie "to show others that someone they know or may be friends or acquaintances with got the shot, and he's doing his part to fight this virus." Lee tells Romper that his father-in-law has health issues and lives with Lee and his family, so technically, he's considered his father-in-law's caregiver. "I want to try to help in lessening his chances of getting infected. I think it’s also important in my role as a civil servant since I occasionally interact with the public."
Michele Harold has an autoimmune disorder, is a disability service provider, and is a caregiver for her 80-year-old mother who has chronic respiratory failure and is oxygen dependent. She posted her vaccine selfie to assure friends and family that she received it. "I had a lot of friends and family who have been concerned for me and my mom, and they were very interested in my getting the vaccine. I wanted them to know I got it. I'm pretty open about my health stuff, and by posting my selfie, I hope to open the door for others to share their experiences, and also to feel free to ask me questions about it."
So get vaccinated, people. Do it for the community at large, do it for your family, your friends, and your loved ones. Do it for yourself. And please, post a COVID vaccine selfie after you do so. It really helps normalize getting the vaccine, shows you're doing your part, and it brings a little hope to the rest of us that there is indeed a light at the end of this tunnel.