While Australia remains largely in lockdown, the rest of the world has seemingly returned to life as we once knew it. Opening social media and clicking on the Instagram stories of friends overseas or Hollywood’s biggest celebrities is to unlock the door to a new portal, one where hugs are given at random, masks need not be worn in public, and gatherings can take place en masse as live concerts and shows entertain. It might seem a world away from our own reality, but as the vaccine rollout continues its acceleration across Australia, officials are still doing all they can to ensure more people come forward to get the jab. It’s not just officials though, even celebrities are doing their part and for Chris Rock, the comedian is urging fans to get the jab not in an effort to see society return to normal, but simply out of experience having endured Covid-19 himself.
Rock revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend, and opted a message to his fans and, more importantly, those who are still unsure about the vaccine, to get the jab. Taking to Twitter, the comedian and 56-year-old actor wrote: “Hey guys I just found out I have Covid, trust me you don’t want this. Get vaccinated.”
Rock said he is vaccinated, having appeared on the Tonight Show earlier in May where he called himself “Two-Shots Rock” before clarifying that he had received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “You know, I skipped the line,” he told host Jimmy Fallon. “I didn’t care. I used my celebrity, Jimmy. I was like, ‘Step aside, Betty White. Step aside, old people…I did ‘Pootie Tang.’ Let me on the front of the line.”
Rock’s urging to get vaccinated comes after a week of more conspiracy theories and negativity surrounding the vaccines. Earlier, Nicki Minaj tweeted a rather bizarre story that cast doubt on the safety of the vaccines for Covid-19, saying that she had heard the vaccine could cause impotence through swollen testicles. The claim went viral and with no evidence to support it, the White House then contacted the rapper to offer her to connect with administration doctors who might address her questions.
It’s not the first time those in positions of power have sought to engage with younger people who might be more sceptical of the vaccine. The Biden administration previously invited teen pop star Olivia Rodrigo to the White House to show her support for the shot in a bid to refute disinformation that continues to spread online. Minaj has since said she won’t get the shot until “I feel I’ve done enough research.”
Here in Australia, a GoFund Me has been created to see Instagram influencers banned from the platform for promoting lockdown protests and continuing to spread unvalidated and false claims about the vaccine online.