An uncharacteristically long, heartfelt—and perhaps just a tinyyyyy bit condescending—Instagram post from Erwan Heussaff has earned him both a lot of praise and flak, as the celebrity posted about getting his second dose of Sinovac.
Erwan—known mostly for being very handsome and for making videos about “taho breakfast drink”—took aim at people who persisted in being choosy about their vaccines. “The way I see it, anyone getting vaccinated at this point, regardless of the brand, is privileged, so don’t be choosy. If you can get it, do it.”
In principle, it’s a sound point that he makes. But the rest of his screed goes off the rails: After saying that he booked Moderna vaccines for his company and had gone ahead to get his Sinovac jabs through the Makati City vaccine program, he says, “When did everyone become a vaccine expert? I’m so tired of knee jerk opinions on Viber groups, Twitter and Facebook. At the end of the day Sinovac is still an effective Covid-19 vaccine. Whether it’s 50% or 95%, it’s still something. Just because you’re vaccinated does not mean you can go hugging strangers again (did you ever do that?).”
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Apparently unaware of the irony of belittling people with opinions as “vaccine experts”, Heussaff offered his opinion about, well, vaccines. “Recently, lots of articles have been coming out about vaccinated health care workers getting infected in Thailand and Indonesia, but they are still small numbers compared to how many Healthcare workers, in total, who have been vaccinated there (I think it shows a 93%++ protection rate). So, stop trying to be the smartest person in the room and listen to people who know what they are talking about (not me, the doctors),” he railed. “In any case, it looks like ALL vaccine brands are now discussing potential needs of booster shots with other vaccine brands, due to the new variants. Just goes to show that no vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate.
“Just like condoms, but you still use them, right?”
The IG post has attracted almost 188,000 hearts in less than 24 hours since it was posted. There are over 4,740 comments on the post, and people are firmly divided—while many lauded Erwan for his pro-vaccination views, others took issue. Some called him a “hypocrite” for choosing Moderna in the first place, while a few others pointed out that the government-issued vaccines were not free, but were paid for with taxes.
Newspaper columnist John Nery pointed out Erwan’s apparent privilege in “disparaging those who don’t or can’t or won’t make the same decision”.
Celebrity makes a personal decision to forgo Moderna for Sinovac for a good reason—then instantly turns into a “vaccine expert” offering a “knee-jerk opinion,” disparaging those who don’t or can’t or won’t make the same decision. Define privilege. https://t.co/a8K9ykzW0i
— John Nery (@jnery_newsstand) July 23, 2021
Like we said, Erwan makes a fair point, even if he kind of went about it the wrong way. Any vaccine is a good vaccine. It’s better than nothing, at least.
But as the scientific community gets more data—and as Covid-19 variants emerge—the protocols about Covid-19 vaccines just might change, as in the case of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which are now offering their Sinopharm-vaccinated citizens a Pfizer booster. So it’s not correct either to dismiss concerns about vaccine brands out of hand.
So maybe take it down a notch, handsome man. While this mini-maelstrom doesn’t compare to the whole taho debacle, one would hope it reminds him that, while celebrity gives you a pulpit, it doesn’t automatically give one the right to be a preacher.
This article, ‘When did everyone become a vaccine expert?’: Erwan Heussaff gets both praise and flak for IG post, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.