The first time I realized vaccine merch was a "thing" was in early March, when I spotted a lady wearing a t-shirt that read something like, "Vaxxed and proud!" Suuure there's utility in turning yourself into a walking billboard, letting everyone know you're mostly-safe to be around. And I guesssss vax-tees and those little "fully vaccinated" stickers being rolled out on dating apps apply positive peer pressure on others to get the jab. But still, I think it's cringey to turn your vaccination status into a fashion statement.
However, that's not why certain people criticized Friends star Matthew Perry for selling t-shirts emblazoned with, "Could I be any more vaccinated?" — a play on one of his famous quips from the show. (His character, Chandler Bing, is lovably cringey as a motif, so it tracks.) Instead, when Perry announced his Chandler-inspired line of apparel and accessories, timed to the release of the Friends reunion special on May 27, people called him greedy.
The six stars of Friends — Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — each got at least $2.5 million for participating in the reunion. Proceeds from Perry's merchandise don't seem earmarked for any sort of charity, focused on Covid-19 relief or otherwise. By contrast, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been selling pandemic-themed merchandise with 100% of the proceeds going to small businesses impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
So, yeah, some people took issue with the fact that Perry was presumably pocketing whatever he earns from his line of Chandler-parel. And anti-vaxxers came for what they took as scientific propaganda in his Instagram comments. But honestly, if Perry's dumb shirts convince someone vaccine-hesitant (but Friends-obsessed) to get the shot, I don't care if he pockets $26.99 per tee. There are bigger things to get fired up about, like how not enough has changed in America a year after the murder of George Floyd. Let's direct public fury in that direction.