How getting the vaccine became the ultimate age giveaway

Fewer people are posting vaccine selfies on social media. Have you noticed?

Cast your mind back to the beginning of the year (if your PTSD will allow). You’ll remember that it looked like the vaxxie (vaccine selfie) would be the runaway social media trend of 2021 (with those weirdly soothing TikTok sea shanties a close second). But as the locked down months have flown by and the vaccine roll-out has gathered pace, rather than a deluge of ‘I’ve had my Covid vaccination’ stickers flooding feeds, it’s all gone a bit quiet.

Remember also, when encouraged by the embodiment of all that is good in the world Dolly Parton, we started Googling ‘vaccine tops’? Fast fashion site Revolve even created a ‘vaccine-ready tops’ section filled with strapless, one-sleeved, exposed-shoulder looks. The fellas, spurred on perhaps by this thirst trap photo of Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, started pruning their chest hair and panic pumping dumbbells in preparation for the perfect vaxxie. Now? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

It could be because the novelty has worn off – every man and their gran has been jabbed at least once at this point (as always, thank you NHS). Or perhaps it’s because we’ve got better things to brag about now that we’re allowed to shiver our bits off in beer gardens. Freezing freedom selfies of your sesh have overtaken vaxxies as the ultimate pandemic grid pic.

But I think there’s something else going on. It was when eligible vaccine groupings moved away from the over 80s, over 65s and even over 55s, that the vaxxies dried up. Turns out, nothing is going to give your age away more than announcing you’re double jabbed.

‘I’m not telling anyone I’m booked in for my vaccine because then people will KNOW I’M 42,’ said one friend last week as the government roll-out moved onto the over 40s. ‘I’ve had the jab BUT IT’S BECAUSE OF AN UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITION,’ said another friend (loudly) still in her 30s and very much wanting people to know it. Last month, a colleague briefed us she wouldn’t be attending that afternoon’s meeting because she was getting the vaccine. It was during the over 50s segment. ‘BUT I’M ONLY 46, they must be getting through people extremely quickly in my area,’ was her answer to a question no one dare ask.

It’s happening with celebrities too. In January, national treasures of a certain age were happily snapped needle in arm. Sir Ian Mckellan, 81, in a boostering rainbow scarf, Bake Off’s Prue Leith, 81, wearing her signature statement necklace and matching specs, Joan Collins, 87, and Her Majesty The Actual The Queen, 95, all proudly tweeted, ‘grammed and TikToked their jabs in real time. Over in the States, dependable authority figures like Michelle Obama, 57 documented her inoculation and Dolly Parton, 75, performed a mini concert as she was given a dose of Moderna, the vaccine she helped to fund.

Now though, we’ve reached the more sensitive age brackets and you can hear the virtual tumbleweed cartwheeling through Instagram. Passing from your thirties to your forties is a milestone no one handles particularly well and if you can still pass for someone in their third decade, you’re sure as hell going to try.

Vax happy: celebrities receive their jabs

Sir Ian McKellen

On December 17, 81-year-old Sir Ian became one of the first celebrities to get the Pfizer jab. He shared a photo of the occasion, saying he felt “very lucky” and would “have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.” Also of note was his excellent choice of rainbow/NHS-themed scarf.

Dolly Parton

In the vaccination announcement that none of us knew we needed, 75-year-old Dolly took to social media on March 2 to receive her first dose of the Moderna vaccine, topping it all off with a timely cover of Jolene (Vaccine) and the fact that she helped to fund the vaccine herself.

Sir David Attenborough

The nation breathed an audible sigh of relief when 94-year-old Sir David received his first dose of the vaccine on January 12.

Sir Tom Jones

Appearing on Jools’ Annual Hootenany, Sir Tom said that the “one good thing about being 80” was being top of the list to receive his Covid jab.

Dame Joan Collins

87-year-old Dame Joan received her vaccine on January 10, telling GMB that she had “no after-effects and I felt absolutely fine. I went home and I had a drink, even.” Bravo, Joan.

Steve Martin

On January 17, Steve Martin tweeted: “Good news/Bad news. Good news: I just got vaccinated! Bad news: I got it because I’m 75. Ha!”

Stephen Fry

Cambridge alumnus Stephen put his “petty rivalries” aside to receive the Oxford vaccine in “Westminster Abbey of all spectacular places,” adding that he was “very grateful to be armed against the enemy!”

Inspired by Dolly, 79-year-old Carole King penned her own updated version of It’s Too Late to honour getting her first dose. An excellent addition to any pandemic-related playlists you might have on the go.

Jeff Goldblum

Jeff got his vaccine on February 1, describing himself as a “citizen well into my platinum years.”

Stanley Tucci

King of the “quarantucci” lockdown cocktail, 60-year-old Stanley revealed he’d had his vaccine in London: “I’m so old I can get it.”

Kim Cattrall

64-year-old Kim Cattrall received her first dose on March 10, sharing a picture captioned “They’ve expanded the vaccine eligibility age in New York! Made my appt yesterday and got the shot this morning. Good work NY!”

Carol Vorderman


The 60-year-old former Countdown host received her vaccination in Bristol earlier in the year.

Courtney Love

US singer Courtney Love, 56, was vaccinated in London, thanking the NHS in her Instagram stories.

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