2434: Vaccine Guidance

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Vaccine Guidance
I can't wait until I'm fully vaccinated and can safely send chat messages in all caps again.
Title text: I can't wait until I'm fully vaccinated and can safely send chat messages in all caps again.

Explanation[edit]

This is another comic in a series related to the 2020 pandemic of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

On the day this comic was published, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines relating to COVID-19, lifting many of the existing restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated for two weeks. Megan, speaking as a CDC spokesperson, is introducing these new guidelines in a video press conference. However, the other participants in the press conference quickly start asking about actions that have little or nothing to do with the vaccine, some of which would be dangerous whether COVID-19 was a risk or not.[citation needed] It's possible that they do not remember life before the pandemic very well, similarly to comic #2391, e.g. Megan missing scuba-diving without a mask.

Blondie asks whether it would be okay to visit neighbors and drink milk directly from the carton. In most Western cultures, drinking directly from a container that could be shared with others (such as a milk carton) is considered unsafe, due to the risk of diseases being transmitted, and generally gross, as saliva and other biological material is passed that way. To drink directly from your own milk carton is considered crass, to do so with someone else's carton would be seen as unacceptable. While these risks are arguably worse during the pandemic, it was unacceptable before the pandemic and will presumably be so afterward.

Science Girl asks whether it would be okay to ride a bike down the stairs of a family member's house, which has a severe risk of injury (and could damage the wheels of the bicycle, although modern bicycle wheels are surprisingly resilient). This is possibly a reference to a scene from Disney's Frozen where protagonist Anna (aged 9 at the time) does this to try to get her sister to leave her room.

White Hat follows up asking whether he can get a horse, and whether it would help for him and/or the horse to wear masks. This has basically no relation to anything else that was said (but perhaps he was promised a pony when he got vaccinated). The CDC still recommends masks for humans when in public; however, face masks are not generally made for horses. In response, Megan gives up trying to answer the increasingly irrelevant questions by saying "Thank you all for coming," and hanging up.

In the title text, Randall mentions that when he is fully vaccinated, he will be able to text people in ALL CAPS. This is generally used to indicate that the typer is shouting, which can spread Covid-19 aerosol particles and cause infection when done in person. However, when texting, there is no risk of spreading diseases that infect humans electronically, and the risk of either spreading computer viruses is unaffected by whether capital or lowercase letters are used, so this is, at best, an unnecessary precaution, and perhaps even counterproductive: the risk that germs on the keypad's shift key could infect the person touching it would be greater repeatedly shifting back and forth between capital and lowercase letters than typing in all caps. (However, it could be a good idea to get in the habit of not responding to others angrily, both to be polite and to not spread respiratory diseases by shouting when meeting in person).

Transcript[edit]

[Megan's face is seen at the bottom of the panel with the CDC-logo slightly above her and to the left; it is a black rectangle with the letters in white, and with a white jigly line to the left of the first C.]
Megan: Our new guidance: Fully vaccinated people can gather privately with no masks or distancing, and can visit with unvaccinated low-risk people in one household.
Megan: Any questions?
Logo: CDC
[Blondie, Hairy and Megan are seen at the bottom of the panel in three separate rectangular panels with Blondie and Hairy's panels at the left above one another. Those panels are almost square and also smaller than Megan's, more rectangular panel to the right of theirs. This panel is centered at the middle of those two panels to the left, and the logo is still visible. It is also shown that Megan is standing behind a lectern. Blondie, above Hairy, is the one asking questions to Megan.]
Blondie: If my neighbors and I are all vaccinated, can I visit them unmasked and drink milk straight from the jug in their fridge?
Megan: I...You can visit, yes.
Blondie: And the jug thing?
Megan: ...Next question?
Logo: CDC
[In a frame-less panel there are two panels at the bottom, with Science Girl in the largest to the left and Megan in the smaller to the right, with the logo still visible, but unreadable still the lectern is shown.]
Science Girl: I'm fully vaccinated. Can I ride my bike in my sister-in-law's house?
Megan: In her house?
Science Girl: Like, down the stairs.
Megan: I guess? You should at least wear a helmet.
Science Girl: Even if she's not high-risk?
Megan: Any other questions?
[White Hat is in a rectangular box at the bottom of the panel. Megan is replying from off-panel to the right from a star burst at the edge of the panel. At the bottom there is a message in a black rectangle with white text.]
White Hat: I'm two weeks past my second dose.
White Hat: Can I get a horse?
Megan: Thank you all for coming.
White Hat: What if I wear a mask?
White Hat: What if the horse does?
Message: Meeting ended by host.


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Discussion

Wow, I'm so early, there isn't even a transcript yet. 162.158.74.139 04:43, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

Me too - neat (I guess this means I refresh xkcd too often) 172.69.23.55 04:52, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

My Computer Is Not Able To Transmit Any Malware Via PlainText. I Guess I Can Already Type In All Caps. 141.101.76.80 07:06, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

I wonder if this comic also plays on the fact that when guidance is issued, people often immediately ask if they can do something not fully covered by it. They are then surprised by speakers response and try again usually resulting in the speaker changing the subject [or ending the chat as in this case]? Fan2012 (talk) 07:23, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

Shouldn't the second women who speaks be classified as Hairbun and not Ponytail? Kvarts314 (talk) 09:21, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

The aforementioned reclassification has been achieved. 162.158.159.128 10:15, 9 March 2021 (UTC)
I guess you mean the third with Megan being the first, but it is anyway Science Girl and had been corrected when I came here. --Kynde (talk) 12:59, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

Is it possible that the title-text is referring to the disease spread via telephones (and their lack of sanitisers) in the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy? 162.158.159.128 10:15, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

No!!! ;-) Nothing with telephones here --Kynde (talk) 13:04, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

Wasn't there a comic in the same vein of "can't wait to do [ridiculous thing] once vaccinated" a while back? Might be worth a mention. 162.158.74.239 10:18, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

Found it, it's 2391: Life Before the Pandemic. 162.158.74.239 10:22, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

I was seriously expecting the title text to be something about riding a horse down the stairs in a family member's house; or possibly about how to get your horse vaccinated -- Angel (talk) 10:46, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

Riding a horse down the stairs in another's house whilst slurping from a milk carton... (This is now safer to do, if the horse is twice vaccinated, I hear.) 141.101.99.21 14:12, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

To be honest, I wish they had still recommended masks. For most groups, wearing them is no more than an inconvenience and it's always better to be cautious. Also- Where did this habit of linking to other comics come from? I like it.--Char Latte49 (talk) 16:07, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

We always link to relevant comics. --Kynde (talk) 13:04, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

Do we really need a citation for the fact that riding a bicycle down the stairs is dangerous? 162.158.62.229 16:52, 9 March 2021 (UTC) 67.249.27.202

That's how we use [citation needed] around here. bubblegum-talk|contribs 17:06, 9 March 2021 (UTC)
We do? Do you have a citation for that? --141.101.98.218 10:42, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
The Citation needed tag is on this page in most cases[citation needed] indeed used for things that are rather obvious[citation needed] or common sense[citation needed] for humorous effect[citation needed] than for things that really needed a citattion[citation needed]. This is due to the fact[citation needed] that in most cases[citation needed] things that really need a citation have one already added by the one who added the thing that needs citation[citation needed]. There's no citation for that[citation needed]. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 11:22, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
No it should not be overused, and basically only when there really is use for a citation. Removes them often! ;-) like twice in this explanation! --Kynde (talk) 13:04, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
But that's basically the point of the meme: these are things which shouldn't *need* a citation. It's based on how Randal used them in his first book. I believe one of the references was equivalent to "the sun is very hot[citation needed]." If that isn't gratuitous, I don't know what is. Cwallenpoole (talk) 14:07, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
I feel a sudden urge to look through every one of your edits and undo them now.
Basically, we (and Randall in what-if) use [citation needed] if and only if there is no question about adding one. If we really need a citation, we have a talk page for that. bubblegum-talk|contribs 17:45, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

huh! the most recent comic doesn't have an incomplete tag! cool! also the title text is pretty much exactly like that one tumblr prediction of 2021 memes. Poggers 162.158.62.121 18:18, 9 March 2021 (UTC)Bumpf

"Doctor, will I be able to play piano after the surgery?" "Certainly, your hands will be fully functional when we're done." "Great, because I couldn't play the piano before"108.162.237.84 21:07, 9 March 2021 (UTC)

I actually did this joke once, when I was being operated on my hand :-D. Luckily I could have played piano again, but I still haven't learned. ;-) --Kynde (talk) 13:04, 10 March 2021 (UTC)


Do we have any data on masks for horses? Cwallenpoole (talk) 16:28, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

EDIT: Comment was deleted due to spamming-ish-ness.