Boris Johnson – What a great shot! Vaccination selfies become the latest social media hit
The latest social media trend involves no ice buckets, no filters and certainly no sea shanties. Now celebrities and politicians around the world are vying to post the best “vaxxies” – selfies of the moment they receive their Covid-19 vaccination.
While vaxxies send out a strong message that the vaccines are safe, they are also an undeniable photo opportunity. The image of Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis being vaccinated with his shirt off went viral last week. With its unreconstructed masculinity, some compared it to photos of a bare-chested Vladimir Putin bare chested out hunting. Mitsotakis became something of a Twitter heartthrob as a result, with one user writing “Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis doing whatever it takes to sell his people on the #COVID19 vaccine.” Others fretted about the prospect of Boris Johnson, who might have his vaccine live on TV, doing the same.
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The shirt-off vaxxie trend continued with MP Brendan Clarke, who received the jab because of his volunteer work at Retford hospital, posting one to Facebook. Other notables have been a little more clothed. Bill Gates posted an image of himself on Twitter, wearing that great leveller, the polo shirt. Floella Benjamin, meanwhile, used an image of herself holding the vial of vaccine.
Celebrities – most of a certain age – have posted vaxxies too. Names include Ian McKellen, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joan Collins. Schwarzenegger posted a video where he encouraged viewers to get vaccinated – “come with me if you want to live,” he said, reprising a line from the Terminator films. Collins was keen to point out that she was vaccinated on the same day as the Queen. While the Palace has yet to reveal a vaxxie, protocol – which traditionally refrains from commenting on the Windsors’ health appointments – has been broken with a statement earlier this month confirming that the Queen and Prince Philip had had their vaccines.
For politicians there is a serious message behind the social media trend – it’s a way to encourage others to get vaccinated. Other notable statesmen and women have posted their vaxxie on social media, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US. Biden, 78, posted his vaxxie in December with the caption “to the American people – know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it.” Ocasio-Cortez filmed her vaccination, broadcasting it on Instagram Live and asking followers to send in questions. “Just like wearing a mask, I’d never advise you to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself,” she wrote.
It’s not a completely new trend. Elvis Presley was photographed having the polio vaccine backstage on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.
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