You Pfizer, Me Moderna: Vaccine Recipients Declare Loyalty

Along with comparison of side effects, there is pride, relief and merch.

By Alyson Krueger

“I’m in a mixed marriage,” tweeted David Thomas, 51. “I got Pfizer, and my wife is getting the Moderna vaccine today. How will this affect our kids?”

Mr. Thomas, who works in printing and lives in Plymouth, Mich., was clearly joking. “Just pretending like we care which vaccine we got makes it fun,” he said. “It’s like a game to say, ‘I’m on Team Pfizer, or I’m on Team Moderna.’”

But, suffused with relief after a year of isolation and loss, many people are getting quite attached to the companies that made their shots, some even buying T-shirts that broadcast the tribe they’ve “joined” (call it pharmcore).

All three Covid-19 vaccines available in America are remarkably effective. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it, “The best Covid-19 vaccine is the first one that is available to you.” Most people aren’t even in a position to choose which one they get. “It’s like the sorting hat in ‘Harry Potter,’” said Mr. Thomas.

Still, a friendly rivalry has taken hold across America with vaccinated people professing loyalty to the brand they happened to have received.

Selfies with vaccine cards now come with the caption #TeamPfizer or #TeamModerna. TikTokers making fun of the brands they didn’t receive are going viral. And some people joining in the playful rivalry are questioning their privilege, asking themselves why they care and how their posturing might look to others in the world who have no vaccine at all.

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