As the UK approaches the one-year anniversary of the first national lockdown with restrictions still in place, all eyes are on the vaccination program offering a glimmer of hope of a return to ‘normality’…
Although we’re ahead of the curve after being the first country in the world to authorise a Covid-19 vaccine, we’re being reminded daily that there’s still a way to go. If you want the jab and get called up, it can feel a bit like having a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. It’s no wonder therefore that many, myself included, have posted our good fortune on social media after receiving their vaccination. After all, what else do we do in this day and age?
What I did not expect however was the backlash.
Everyone has a choice about whether they get vaccinated and their own reasons behind that decision. For those who have been shielding for the best part of a year, having the vaccine could offer a way out. For health care workers coming up against the virus on a daily basis it’s an added layer of protection. For people like me it’s the prospect of being able to see friends and loved ones again. Plus, with talk that in order to attend live events or fly abroad you may have to produce proof of vaccine, getting it sorted is a happy relief, so why wouldn’t you post about it? What isn’t helpful is laying into people for their choices or sharing memes announcing, “nobody cares that you got vaccinated”. For someone claiming not to care, the effort that went into making such a graphic and then hitting send would suggest otherwise. Are they jealous?
On the flip side of the coin, some vaccine recipients have been reproached for openly discussing side effects and accused of putting others off. While I can see where they may be coming from, as with all medication there is the possibility of side effects. They are written down on a leaflet that you receive at your appointment and the person administering the jab will run through them to check that you are aware. While some only experience a numb arm, surely feeling a bit rubbish temporarily is better than experiencing full-on coronavirus? Either way, knowledge is power, so at least you can be prepared. Why should people have to keep it to themselves if they are feeling genuinely under the weather from their vaccine especially when others can use social platforms to bemoan the (ill-advised) results of using Gorilla Glue in their hair.
I, for one, would rather read on my social feed about people making what they perceive as positives in their lives than negatives of anti-maskers and wild conspiracy theories – what exactly are they doing to help get us out of this pandemic? At the end of the day, whether your friends are posting about having had the vaccine, their kids going back to school or what they ate for dinner, if you don’t like something then scroll on by.