The ‘vaxxie’ is set to be the defining image of 2021

Ordinary Australians are taking cues from celebrities and posting vaccine selfies by the truckload. But these certainly aren’t like other selfies.

14/06/2021 4:13:00 PM

Ordinary Australians are taking cues from celebrities and posting vaccine selfies by the truckload. But these certainly aren’t like other selfies | melly_singer

Ordinary Australians are taking cues from celebrities and posting vaccine selfies by the truckload. But these certainly aren’t like other selfies.

(see also: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in full bare-chested glory), and Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein’s panther tattoo reveal among them – several experts agree the “vaxxie” could be the most significant social media trend of 2021.Dr Crystal Abidin, associate professor of internet studies at Curtin University, says vaccine selfies are like the COVID-19 equivalent of the “democracy sausage” photos often posted around election time, only more personal. “It signals you are part of a movement and you are encouraging others to do the same,” she says.

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The Prime Minister receives his vaccine in March.Credit:Cara Waters, a business journalist atThe Sydney Morning HeraldandThe Age, hardly posts selfies; her Instagram is predominantly food shots and the odd travel snap. But she felt compelled to share a photo after her first Pfizer shot last week at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, where health officials have a purpose-built media wall encouraging people to share photos with the hashtag #jabdone.

“I felt a bit emotional getting the injection,” she says. “It’s been such a tough time, and ... I wanted to do my bit to advocate for vaccines because there has been a lot of negative publicity.”AdvertisementWaters, 41, says that in the absence of a federal government vaccination campaign, “people are taking it in to their own hands” to spread the word: I got the vaccine, I’m OK, and you should, too. headtopics.com

Abidin agrees that the selfies help the argument that vaccines are safe and can help resolve information vacuums or misinformation around the process.Still, she says it’s naive to think that social posts, however viral we may think they are, necessarily reach people who commonly fall between the cracks, such as migrants, the elderly and other minority groups.

Lillian Kline, chief executive of impact investment firm Impact Outfit, agrees the overwhelmingly positive reaction she received to her selfie may be, at least partly, evidence of “my own echo chamber”.“If I had any anti-vaxx friends they probably wouldn’t [publicly] say I’m an idiot [for getting vaccinated],” she says.

Lillian Kline and (inset) her vaxxie.Kline says she is conscious vaccines are a “threshold” issue that could test some personal relationships but this made her even more motivated to share her experience.“This is an issue people want to be on the record for. People I haven’t spoken to in a long time have engaged, or made comments [on my post],” she says, adding that commenting on or posting vaxxies was a way of “self validating” on the issue.

Waters says a vaxxie definitely feels different to other modes of online activism. “It’s different to theblack squares[associated with Black Lives Matter in 2020] when people asked, ‘Are you actually doing anything positive?’ You are documenting the action you have taken [by getting a vaccine] – it’s not purely performative. I guess it would be purely performative if you stood at the vaccine hub and didn’t get [the shot].” headtopics.com

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However, not everyone has jumped at the opportunity to share their vaxxie. Celebrity chef Adam Liaw was initially hesitant over concerns he might appear like he was bragging about getting the jab. But then his work as an ambassador for charity UNICEF, which campaigns against vaccine hesitancy, changed his mind. “There’s this kind of anti-vaxx ‘noise’ that is so loud and vocal that it has to be countered with normalising the process of getting the vaccine,” he says.

Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald »

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The ‘vaxxie’ is set to be the defining image of 2021Ordinary Australians are taking cues from celebrities and posting vaccine selfies by the truckload. But these certainly aren’t like other selfies. covid19 vaccine vaxxies It's ridiculous, for a start they don't need face nappies to have a jab, honestly this stupidity has to stop There’s is no cure for stupid Knobheads

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