So Your Vaccine Selfie Didn’t Overperform. Here’s How To Fix That In Time For Dose 2.

What’s the better part about getting the vaccine—protection from a potentially life-threatening virus, or social media validation? It’s a real toss-up. Thankfully, with today’s hottest Instagram trend being a selfie holding up your vax card (that might get your identity stolen), you don’t have to choose. Get ready, because all that rapid clicking at 3am on the Department of Health website will finally pay off in some sweet, sweet Instagram likes!

Unfortunately, there’s nothing worse (aside from the soreness, mild fever, and general fatigue) than snapping your best needle stabbing action shot before they rush you off to the 15-minute observation station and not getting the requisite double-digit likes on your pic. If you got the covid vaccine and didn’t document it for the sake of your own narcissism, are you even immune? Don’t be too hard on yourself—if you’re like many of us, you haven’t taken a bangin’ (or even acceptable) selfie in 13 months, and you’re probably out of practice. Luckily, you have one more shot (no pun intended) to nail it. Unless you got Johnson & Johnson, then you’ll just have to console your lack of Instagram likes with your less mild side effects. Actually, if you got J&J, best not to publicize that information at all.

Here are some selfie-taking best practices you may have overlooked in your initial quest to thirst trap with your exposed shoulder.

Plan Your Outfit

If the most thought you put into your vax ‘fit was wearing short sleeves as per the department of health’s recommendations, you really f*cked up big time. Assuming you give a sh*t about other people since you are getting the vaccine in the first place, this appointment is probably your biggest social outing in a good six months (park hangs notwithstanding, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that wearing a bikini top and denim shorts to your local Walgreen’s might not go over great). Remember all those pieces of cloth held together by thread sitting in the back of your closet? It’s time to shake the mothballs off them.

The good news is that a by-product of us all being cooped up inside is that we’ve all but forgotten normal social conventions when it comes to dressing. Is anyone going to side-eye you for wearing heels and a club dress to the mass vaccination site? Only because they’re mad they hadn’t thought of it first. Think outside the box! The cold shoulder look is overdone, what other unexpected body parts can you expose? It should go without saying that your collarbone will be basking in the sun, but has your underboob gotten any love lately? How about your obliques? That spot where your butt connects to the thigh? The area behind the knees? This is the time to really go wild.

Do Your Hair

You know, those things growing out of your head that you’ve been neglecting for the past 13 months? Time to apply some hot tools to those bad boys. It seems absurdly extra to give yourself a blowout with beachy waves to get jabbed in the arm by an overworked nurse, and it is, but the reality is that we’re too late in the vaccine rollout for you to get a significant number of likes by simply brandishing the little card on your IG feed. It’s time to do something big to set yourself apart, even if that means exposing your extreme vanity in the process. Who knows, maybe you’ll catch the eye of that probably-buff-not-at-all-scary National Guard guy in the corner.

Put On Eye Makeup

You know, those ball-shaped things in your head under which more bags than you’d find in a Louis Vuitton store have been growing for the past year-plus? You’re working with limited real estate with the mask and all (lipstick is out of the question, unless you want to look like a certain clown with a penchant for chaos and destruction) so you need to make it count where you can. Remember your liquid eyeliner? No, I know you don’t remember how to apply it, but do you at least recall the existence of such an item? Good—start practicing drawing a straight line. But don’t stop there! This is the time to do something experimental, like what you’ve been seeing on beauty TikTok. Paint the Mona Lisa on your eyelids—what else do you have to do?

Don’t Forget The Nail Polish

Since the pandemic robbed most of us of the opportunity to meet someone special, you likely won’t be showing off your left ring finger anytime soon. But you know what you will be showing off? The thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand as they pinch the little piece of card stock that indicates that you are less of a menace to society. You don’t want to be doing that with the same sad, raggedy looking nails, do you?

Partner Up

So you’re not pulling your weight solo. Maybe your 400 followers are sick of seeing just your face. And honestly, can you blame them? Your face is… fine, for sure, but it hasn’t changed much. It might be time to switch it up. Can you bring a dog with you for your vaccine appointment? Okay, so I have no idea. Forget the dog—can you get the person administering the shot to begrudgingly look into your iPhone camera? Couple that with a self-serving caption about how you’re doing this for the frontline workers, when really we all know you’re just itching to black out inside a sports bar on Football Sunday, and you should be set.

Lighting Is Everything

The rules of selfie-taking are simple and finite, and no amount of presets you drunkenly bought off an influencer or Adobe Lightroom edits can make up for sh*tty lighting. Unfortunately, you can only do so much in the back room of a CVS. It would be totally weird to bring a right light with you… or would it? I mean, you have 15 minutes to kill while they monitor you to make sure you don’t go into anaphylaxis.

Maybe Try A Weird Hat?

Have you considered pulling out all the stops? A weird hat? A slogan tee? A mask with a picture of a mouth on it? Those colored extensions girls wear to music festivals? A face tattoo? When it comes to using modern medicine to further your own Instagram popularity, there is no such thing as too over-the-top.

Remember, as we get later into the vaccine rollout, you’ll need to get more creative if you want your run-of-the-mill post-Pfizer photo to stand out. Sorry, but if you wanted to be the first in your friend group to put up a #vaxcitybitch selfie, maybe you should have gone to med school.

Images:  Vitalii Kuznetsov /

Sara Levine
Sara Levine
Sara cares about a few things, including cheese, cheap white wine (never chardonnay), and the Real Housewives of Potomac. She co-hosts Betches' Not Another True Crime Podcast and posts her tweets to Instagram.