It's been a year full of grief and loss, and one in which taking selfies has seemed indulgent. Now, however, with hope on the horizon in the form of the COVID-19 vaccines now rolling out, the selfie has reemerged in a new form, with a new label: the "vaxxie." Axios notes the new lingo—referring to a photo one takes of oneself during the vaccination process—showed up in the New York Times for the first time over the weekend, pointed out by a Twitter bot that looks for such things in the esteemed publication. The term has even started to make its way into dictionary suggestion boxes, suggesting we're going to see a lot more of it, and the pictures it's referring to. Indeed, the Cut predicts vaxxies "are going to be everywhere," as more and more people start to get the call that it's their turn to be inoculated.
"With the pandemic there's been fewer opportunities for selfies—no travel, no gatherings," an Oregon Health and Science University professor says. "This is a fun time to show off," she adds, much like people did while posting election selfies to encourage others to get out and vote. There are some detractors who say such photos are distasteful, either because they're seen as "virtue signaling" or because some people who should already have access to the vaccine, like certain health care workers, still don't. Still, others say posting vaxxies boosts confidence in the vaccine and can help lift our spirits. "We're all just so exhausted by this year, and this is a nice bookend to give folks a sense of optimism for the upcoming year," says Jahan Fahimi, director of the emergency department at UC San Francisco. Fahimi recently posted his own vaxxie, noting, "My ribosomes didn't even see it coming." (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)