There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the fact that for every pop cultural, social, or political phenomenon that exists, an absolutely bananas piece of Etsy merch exists, too. Of course… of COURSE… the U.S. vaccine rollout is no exception.
Kate Knibbs, a senior writer at Wired, unearthed a handful of t-shirts Thursday designed for people who are so excited about the COVID-19 vaccine that a simple vaccine card selfie won’t suffice. These people, who were surely clanging pots and pans furiously at 7p.m. this time last year, need a more permanent, physical representation of how freaking jazzed they are to have received their immunity poke, their “Fauci Ouchie,” the jab itself! The best way to trumpet your vaccine status for all the world to see? A graphic t-shirt, obviously!
A quick dive into Etsy’s marketplace reveals even more merch available for the vaccinated among us, including pins, jewelry, card holders, and (duh!) masks.
It’s a heady cocktail of corny and nerdy, intense “I kept trying to get good grades even after I got into my dream liberal arts college” energy with a heaping side of “I write really thorough Yelp reviews” vibes.
That being said, I’m writing these burns from Brooklyn, where everyone I regularly interact with has either gotten the vaccine already or is rabid with eagerness for their appointment. Rocking one of these shirts in an area where people are turning down the vaccine and going about their lives as if nothing is wrong—or even openly antagonizing people for following COVID restrictions—is a lot braver, honestly. In fact, if these shirts get us any closer to herd immunity and the end of this nightmare, then I stand very seriously beside my vaxx-supporting brethren, not laughing even a little at our chants of “Live, Vaxx, Love” and “In This House, We’ve All Had Our Shots.”
Still, I don’t think anything encapsulates the post-vaccine apparel trend better than these two entries which had glowing reviews (of course!):
Etsy has had a… let’s say, “interesting” time over the course of the pandemic. In March 2020, the company cracked down on vendors selling COVID-related merchandise, especially the kind that was racist or expressed skepticism of the virus’s existence. The company did not, however, ban the sale of mesh “freedom” masks specifically worn by COVID deniers looking to flout mask mandates, as VICE reported in August. Etsy also struggled to crack down on QAnon and pro-insurrection gear following the Capitol Hill Riot on January 6, 2021.
OK, so celebratory vaccine merchandise isn’t a problem in the same way as any of the above—everyone who is medically able to should get the vaccine! It’s unequivocally good that people are excited about it! I genuinely appreciate everyone doing their part to make sure we don’t lose another half million lives to COVID-19! But would I grimace and scoot away from someone in a “Fauci Ouchie” baseball tee at the post-vax orgy? Absolutely.
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