An Instagram pic of my ex-colleague from Mumbai getting her first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine made me hurt right in the meow meow. (To anyone wondering WTF it means, here’s the meme for reference.) I must admit; I felt vaccine envy.
It stung because I’ve been setting alarms, groggily trying to book a slot during ungodly hours, with no success, obviously. My envy was palpable and I made no attempts to hide it.
“How the heck did you manage?” I messaged her, unbothered to type out a customary “How are you?” before I bellowed at her in the DMs.
“Just some jugaad,” she replied, explaining very patiently how she went about and even sharing some useful Telegram links with me. Bless her heart.
Going green over vaccine
Call it vaccine envy or vaccine FOMO, people across the world have been feeling it. There are whole Reddit threads dedicated to people going green over their more fortunate peers who received their Covid vaccines.
In Mumbai, life is slowly turning into a black comedy for those who are trying to book vaccine slots. It takes grit, perseverance, some street smarts and all your stars to align properly to get lucky.
Adding insult to injury is folks outside Maharashtra flexing their vaccine pics.
On a serious note, don’t mind my jealous ass. Go get your jabs guys!
It’s especially triggering for those who have to wait endlessly without any promise of a vaccine in the coming days. The anxiety can be crippling.
Since March 2020, we’ve been waiting for one, hoping it will take us back to life as it were before the coronavirus days.
Once we get the jab, we could finally rip our masks off, barge face-first into a Mumbai local and invade other’s personal space again. Or at least we thought we could.
If you live in Maharashtra, good luck. From the looks of it, the 18-44 demographic will have to wait longer.
Latest news says that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has suspended the inoculation drive for the age group. The existing stocks will be diverted to the 45+ demographic due to the shortage in doses. Fair enough.
How to deal with vaccine envy
It’s natural to feel envious of others’ good fortune, mainly because we are in midst of an existential crisis. And a vaccine ensures our survival, at least in theory.
“In evolutionary terms, emotions are adaptive responses to the environment that increase my chances of survival,” says a study in Frontiers of Psychology by Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Baland Jal titled “The Evolutionary Psychology of Envy and Jealousy.”
According to this brilliant article in Psychology.com, “In a traditional evolutionary psychology mode, jealously is an inherited response that once increased our chances of survival.”
The answer is that the whole purpose of envy is to motivate you into action either by independently trying harder (envy) or by coveting and stealing what the other has (jealousy).
Envy spurs us to do whatever it takes to increase our chances of survival. If anything, it may get you one step closer to that elusive vaccine.
But if you are still down in the mouth, bear this in mind. With every person vaccinated, we get closer to herd immunity. So even if you didn’t get your jab in time, others who did will keep you safe from the infection. It’s a win-win.
“When a lot of people in a community are vaccinated the pathogen has a hard time circulating because most of the people it encounters are immune. So the more that others are vaccinated, the less likely people who are unable to be protected by vaccines are at risk of even being exposed to the harmful pathogens,” says The World Health Organization.
Know that sooner or later, we will all get vaccinated. Till then, it’s just a waiting game; and as evolved beings, we can afford to wait a few more months if we’ve waited for so long.