Charla Huber: Be mindful about celebrating your vaccination

As we continue with the vaccination phase of this pandemic, more articles are emerging about etiquette and how we choose to celebrate our vaccinations. Many people have turned to posting vaccination selfies to celebrate the occasion — one news story I read even referred to these photos as “vaxxies.”

I’ve seen many of these photos posted on social media by people I’ve never met as well as friends and acquaintances. There are mixed views on these photos. One opinion is that posting a post-vaccination selfie can encourage others to get a vaccine. It normalizes the process and demonstrates leadership.

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Leaders in Canada and worldwide are getting vaccinated publicly and sharing photos online to encourage others. Celebrities are posting their photos with the same hope of creating comradery and demonstrating leadership. There are people who are nervous to get vaccinated and I see merit in these initiatives to show support for these vaccines.

For us here in B.C., I think it was important to see Dr. Bonnie Henry get vaccinated — she is walking the talk.

We need to be mindful, however, that not everyone is getting vaccinated at the same time. We are living in the midst of worldwide mass-vaccination effort and there are different wait times for everyone.

Posting a photo and celebrating your vaccination could cause harm to others around us who are anxiously waiting for their turn. This is a scary time filled with anxiety and it can be hard to hear that others are getting protected while some are still waiting nervously.

By the time you are reading this, I should have received my vaccine. When I have heard of friends and acquaintances receiving their vaccines before me, I was happy for them, but somehow it also made me feel a greater sense of urgency to get mine.

We’ve been waiting for a vaccine since March 2020 and it’s absolutely incredible that vaccines have been safely developed in this short amount of time, and of course, this is a reason to celebrate.

But I want to do my best to ensure that my own celebration doesn’t make anyone else feel bad.

I am a photographer and I know that a photo can serve a purpose greater than social media. Photos document our lives, our world, and can teach future generations about history. Photos documenting this time and our road to vaccinations can help others when they are shared tastefully.

As a scrolled through Twitter this afternoon, I stumbled on a tweet by Philip Steenkamp, Royal Roads University president. It was a post-vaccination selfie accompanied by the words: “It does feel great! But it will feel that much better when it’s all of us. I am profoundly grateful to the scientists, researchers, health care workers, industries, government officials and clinical trial volunteers who made this vaccine possible.”

This social-media post summed up my thoughts in a truly beautiful way. We can celebrate our vaccinations, but the celebration will be that much more meaningful when it is everyone.

Charla Huber is the Director of Communications and Indigenous Relations at M’akola Housing Society.

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