Are you Team Pfizer or Team Moderna? According to the internet, this is the biggest self-identity game since Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, and it all depends on what vaccine you got.
The very unscientific masses seem to believe that the Pfizer “daughters” are superior. Moderna “girls”, not so much. And if you’re a Johnson & Johnson person, or dare we say AstraZeneca, we’re sorry to let you know, but you’re not even in the running. (But our science writer has good news for the oft-overlooked J&J crowd!)
This is all great fun, of course. Experts like Dr Fauci have said that the best vaccine to get is the one you qualify for first, as long as it is the two doses if the vaccine requires two injections. Each vaccine has been rigorously tested and has been shown to have a high percentage of effectiveness in protecting against serious illness and death from the virus, which is desperately needed.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 500,000 Americans so far, and community immunity through vaccination is the best way to save lives and get back to normal, whatever that may look like in the future.
That being said, there’s a reason why potential students flock to the top college rankings every year and why millennials still argue that their (and fantastic) Harry Potter Hogwarts house is the best.
People have an obsession with belonging, status and composure, so it was only a matter of time for these impulses to take hold among the vaccinated masses. Pandemic be damn, we’ll always find a way to be a part of a group that’s better than another.
People on Twitter have made it very clear. They share memes that compare the recipients of the Pfizer vaccine to those of Moderna, and this can be heated in the comment threads.
Dr. Donelson R. Forsyth, a social and personality psychologist who teaches at the University of Richmond, told The Daily Beast that this behavior follows typical human behavior known as “social categorization theory.”
“We very naturally put everyone we meet into psychologically constructed categories, and that includes ourselves. In classic studies of this trend, researchers would bring people into a room and divide them into two groups – totally at random, ”he explained in an email. “Immediately people started to identify with their own group and to see people in the other group in a negative light. Even without ever speaking to each other, people assume that they are part of the “right group” and that there is something wrong with people in the other group.
“We’re so quick to think it’s ‘us versus them’ that we use any difference between us to create divisions: Baylor vs. Gonzaga, Morning People vs. Night Owls, Chevy drivers vs. Ford drivers, Moderna vs. Pfizer ( I won’t even talk about thrill-seeking J & Js, ”he added.
“But getting the vaccine isn’t just a friendly (or not) status symbol. It is literally life and death.“
But getting the vaccine isn’t just a friendly (or not) status symbol. It is literally life and death. You would think that having enough snapshots that anyone who needs or wants one could actually get one would actually choke our exclusive nature, but an article from Notre Dame titled The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective suggests that having fewer options actually widens the gap.
According to the authors, “comparison concerns intensify and competitiveness increases as the number of competitors decreases, even controlling the overall expected gains.” In other words, the fewer competitors there are, like just four types of vaccines, the more people feel the need to be the best, which is why Pfizer Diana vs Moderna Camilla meme. (Although the folks at Moderna disagree.)
In some tweets, people wondered if they were still compatible with loved ones or friends? In the same way that novice astrologers would ask if an Aries could match in harmony with a Libra, people are now wondering if a Pfizer girl could date a guy from Moderna. (Spoiler: That’s okay, as long as both people are vaccinated.)
Whether someone is a J&J hottie or a Modern Moderna woman, at the end of the day we will have one common goal: to slow the spread of COVID as if our lives depended on it. Because these days they do.
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