Column: Vaccination-bragging is trending

Have you been COVIDoom scrolling lately and stumbled into some friend or acquaintance or maybe even an enemy, if you’re slow to pull the trigger on Unfollow or Unfriend, bragging about the fact that they’ve had their COVID vaccination, a remark usually made knowing full well that you likely haven’t got yours yet?

They call it their “golden ticket” and include a photo of getting a shot (“I didn’t feel a thing!” they say, stifling a giggle), or a filled-out CDC card reminding them of their second shot appointment, which will give them eternal life, as if there’s no longer anything to fear. They can cross the street anywhere without looking, because a speeding car would just bounce off of them like it was made of party balloons.

Whereas you, on the other hand (it is implied), must continue to cower in your hall closet that’s been converted into a home office, grinding your teeth at the smugness of the golden-ticket holder, seething with something: rage, jealousy, an urge to seek revenge, a sickening suspicion that no loving and caring God could exist that would allow this person to get a golden ticket while you continue to feel like you’re inviting peril by petting your cat.

GQ Magazine even reports that men are bragging about having been vaccinated on dating apps, in an effort to make themselves even more super-attractive.

You can find examples of vaxx-elation in a couple of Facebook minutes. Or Or, “Date me! You won’t catch anything!” on Zoosk. People getting shots and crowing about it, all but saying, “So, I’m good now. How ‘bout you? Still hiding in the attic?”

Even worse are people brag-complaining online about getting chills and aches the day after getting their second shot. When my sister was in her fourth day in the ICU with COVID, she thought she was going to die, and I don’t think she imagined that chills would be a bad thing compared to the pain and suffering and slow suffocation she was feeling.

Happily, she survived and recently got her vaccinations and, yeah, she posted photos of her getting her shots, but leave her out of this. She’s my sister. As chief administrator of vaccinations, I would give anyone who’s already suffered with the coronavirus first dibs on the vaccine, along with the attendant bragging rights.

Slowing the pace toward a return to whatever sort of normalcy we can expect are the hordes of anti-vaxxers, or as the less-militant, less zany-conspiracy-believing are called, “vaccine-hesitant.” Not everyone is shoving their way to the front of the line.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month found 68% of people were hesitant to get vaccinated because they say the long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown (while those of us in a certain eligible age group may only be concerned about the short-term effects); 59% worry about serious side effects; 55% believe the vaccines are not as safe as they’re touted to be; and 31% think they can get COVID from the vaccine itself.

And then you get out to the fringe, where you can’t even imagine what thoughts and phobias are going through peoples heads. There are some who maintain the vaccine can horse around with your DNA, turning you into, I don’t know, I guess whatever the vaccine decides to turn you into: a triceratops? It’s anyone’s guess.

These are people who, on one hand, slow the pace of conquering COVID, but on the other hand, leave more for those who want it.

Let’s get everyone who wants a vaccine vaccinated first and later we can round up the hesitant ones and see if we can’t persuade them with common sense before we’re forced to hog-tie them and give them a shot.

Right now there are plenty of people who want and/or need a vaccination, to the point where everyone’s arguing that they’re most in danger of contracting the virus, such as dockworkers calling themselves food workers because, I suppose, there’s got to be something to eat in all those containers being offloaded every day.

But all they have to do is handle the containers. Some of us have to eat that stuff.

Just for the sake of a generous nod to transparency, I’ve had my vaccinations. I’m at an age where you start getting things like 10% discounts at Applebee’s and eligibility for the senior platter at Fuddrucker’s and access to the “Honored Guest” menu at Sizzler. Yet, I’ve never availed myself of any of these old-age benefits, save for a discount ticket to the Catacombs in Rome, because nothing makes a senior citizen feel younger than touring a cavern of randomly stacked skulls and pelvis art. But it just feels unseemly to get a free beverage or a 10% discount on a stack of flapjacks at iHOP just because I was born when Ike was president.

When it came to vaccination eligibility, I signed up quickly, demanding a tumbler of Moderna with a Pfizer back, and entered the fray and the mad race to the convention center where I threw 80- and 90-year-olds aside like 20-pound bags of birdfeed in order to get my shots before teachers and dockworkers and cannabis clerks began elbowing for position and arguing their lives are more endangered than the others.

So now I’ve got both doses, the golden ticket.

But do you see me bragging about it? I mean, other than this column?

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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