What To Know Before You Post Your Vaccine Selfie

Say cheese — under your mask.

A person takes a selfie while getting a COVID-19 vaccine. It's natural to want to take a vaccine sel...
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You’ve gotten your shot and you’re hype because a) it really didn’t hurt that badly and b) you’re on your way to being fully vaccinated. That’s definitely cause for a celebratory selfie, right? But to keep yourself safe from more than just COVID, make sure you’re up-to-date on the emerging etiquette for vaccine selfie do’s and don’ts.

Do Get Consent

Your health care provider or volunteer vaccine administrator might be happy to take a moment to smile for your selfie while you’re getting your shot. They might also give you consent to take it while they’re focusing on actually injecting you. But it’s important to remember that consent to take a photo and consent to upload it onto social media are two different things; it’s potentially illegal to post someone’s image without their permission, according to FindLaw, on top of being an invasion of privacy.

Before you post, make sure you’re getting an explicit “Yes, that’s fine!” from whoever’s in the photo with you to put it on social media. Otherwise, crop out any identifying features (including tattoos), or take a totally solo selfie that you can post in all its unedited glory.

Don’t Post Your Vaccine Card

Your vaccine card has a lot of information on it that could potentially tell your adoring internet followers (and random folks) more than you want them to know about you. If you hold up your card just so, anyone who can see your Instagram can also see your full name, birth date, the type of vaccine you got, and exactly where you went to get it. Your full name, plus your birth date and city, could be used to create and sell counterfeit vaccine cards or open bank accounts in your name, says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you’ve been trying to avoid putting the city you moved to after college online — or if you’d like to avoid identity fraud — getting a little too excited about showing off your vaccine card might accidentally put too much info out there. Instead, take a picture of your “I got vaccinated” sticker if they’re handing them out.

Do Wear Your Mask

If you’re taking your obligatory post-vaccine selfie, you’re probably still in the throes of excitement — which may well mean you’re still in public. So yes, you need to be wearing your mask while you’re rolling up your sleeve to show off your bandaid.

Even if you’re taking your vaccine selfie from your car with no one around you, it’s important to avoid inadvertently spreading the false message that you can unmask in public once you’ve gotten the poke. You’ll be able to more safely unmask when herd immunity is achieved, but that won’t be until around 70-80% of the population is fully vaccinated. As of early April, only 19.4% of the country meets that criteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Don’t Feel The Need To Post Your Medical History

It’s totally valid to be open on social media about any and all physical or mental health issues you might live with — visibility is important to combat stigma. But if you’re getting a vaccine sooner than some of your friends because of an underlying condition, don’t feel pressured to disclose anything you don’t want to in order to “justify” your vaccination status. It’s nobody’s business!