I’ll admit, after receiving my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine a couple of weeks ago, I felt like a bad bitch. Mostly because my body was on its way to obtaining a sweet layer of defense against COVID-19, and I was one step closer to a Hot Girl Summer. But also because I had been injected with the superior vaccine.
Days prior to my vaccination appointment, friends and family were all begging to know, “Which one are you getting?” My answer was that I had no idea, and I wouldn’t know until I got to my appointment. I also didn’t really care. You could inject me with literally anything if it meant ending this year-long nightmare. But when I was told I’d be receiving the Pfizer vaccine, I couldn’t help but feel a little … better about myself. And I may or may not have developed a god complex on the car ride home with my mother who had received the comparatively lowly Moderna vaccine. And it turns out I’m not the only one.
A recent article published by Slate investigates how the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became the elite vax. As vaccines continue to roll out across the country, users on TikTok and Twitter have been cracking jokes and sharing memes about how it’s the “better vaccine.”
One TikTok user stated, “Pfizer just sounds expensive.” Another user, while brandishing their post-shot Band-Aid and “I got vaccinated” sticker, told viewers: “Only hot people get the Pfizer vaccine.” One comment left on a TikTok joking that those with the Pfizer shot think of themselves “as above the average person” simply read: “Idk how to explain it but it’s just the prettier vaccine.”
To be perfectly clear, this is all very much a joke, and — I’ll say it loud for the people in the back — there is not actually a “best vaccine.” Before you start freaking out about the efficacy of your Moderna or J&J shot, all three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. have been shown to be highly effective at preventing the virus. Actually, our immediate reaction to divide and conquer lines up with a typical human behavior known as the “social categorization theory” as one psychologist explained to The Daily Beast. Though there might be a few reasons for the current Pfizer snobbery.
According to Slate, Pfizer’s first-to-market advantage was pretty significant, and when we first heard the news that its vaccine was 95% effective in November, that glorious moment has imprinted onto our brains. The pharmaceutical company has also been killing it in manufacturing and distributing the vaccine, which means they’ve retained more news headlines. Still, Moderna and Pfizer are pretty much tied when it comes to efficacy. Pfizer is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 in those without prior infection while Moderna has a 94.1% efficacy. Johnson and Johnson comes just below with a 72% overall efficacy and 86% efficacy against severe disease.
Not to be entirely outdone, though, the Morderna gang has its own talking points. They like flaunting that their vax was partially funded by queen Dolly Parton, with some even going so far as to call the Moderna vaccine “free dolly merch.” Meanwhile, those who have received a shot of J&J have been reveling in the convenience of its one-dose design. And while you might think the current pause in the administration of the J&J vax after six recipients developed a rare and severe blood-clotting disorder might hinder its status, many J&J hotties are now proudly calling their antibodies “limited edition.”
Just like the rest of the many, many memes the pandemic has produced, these vaccine memes are just another reaction to a collective pandemic experience and likely an attempt at garnering that human connection we’ve all been deeply deprived of this past year. And while the jokes are funny, please don’t let them deter you from getting a particular vaccine — doctors have said repeatedly that the best vaccine is the one you can get.
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