2021 is much better than 2020. Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, the United States, and the world, is becoming more mobile. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 154 million Americans are fully vaccinated. That’s roughly 46% of US citizens, which means more than half of the country has yet to receive the vaccine. To raise awareness on the importance of vaccination, artists across the globe are designing merch urging people to get the jab.
“I wish we weren’t in a society where something like getting a scientifically backed vaccine to protect yourself and others wasn’t so controversial, but here we are,” says Maria Filar, one of the Threadless artists designing vaccine-related merch. “I hope that the more people wear shirts and buttons saying they’re vaccinated, the more [unvaccinated people] will be inspired and comforted in knowing that it’s nothing to be afraid of, and get the shot!”
Threadless recently held an “I’m Vaccinated” Design Challenge for artists, and the community will choose a winner from over 500 submissions. Threadless will announce the winner sometime in the future, but in the meantime, there are many designs at Threadless that promote the vaccine in creative and clever ways. Many of the artists are also donating a portion of their proceeds to medical organizations and nonprofits. Here’s a roundup of 10 vaccine-themed designs you can wear to show that you support efforts to eliminate the threat of COVID-19.
1. “Vaccinated Club” by NARNIAZ
This tee displays two cartoon vaccines giving their thumbs up above the slogan “Vaccinated Club,” as if the design is a sports team emblem. Adam Lawless, better known as NARNIAZ at Threadless, created this piece for the “I’m Vaccinated” Design Challenge. “The Vaccinated Club positively [accepts] more members,” said Lawless.
While explaining his process to Threadless, he continued, “I started to get inspired after looking at all the other designs submitted by my competitors. I managed to come up with three different designs, and the top-scored one is ‘Vaccinated Club.’ Vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventive-care measures available, so come join the club!”
2. “Stab Me With Science” by LXROMERO
Nothing says “get a vaccine” quite like “Stab Me With Science,” a clever tee designed by Chicago–based artist Luis Romero, whose artist moniker is LXROMERO at Threadless. The design depicts a smiley-faced vaccine with retro lettering. “Masks Save The Queen,” another design created by Romero, shows Queen Elizabeth wearing a face mask with ransom-style lettering, like a Sex Pistols album cover. As the artist says, “Wearing a mask is punk.”
3. “Celebrate All Your Shots” by Felix Pimenta
Brazilian artist and designer Felix Pimenta has created many vaccine-related designs. This one in particular shows a shot glass happily holding hands with a vaccine needle, and bears the phrase “Celebrate All Your Shots.”
“My designs come together as I draw them,” the artist told Threadless. “For me, this design reminds us that we should care about all the good times, drinking a shot of our favorite beverage. As you know, those good times have decreased a lot since the pandemic started. In a way, COVID-19 and the harm it causes to the world have made us think about the importance of our lives, of our good moments. The design also encourages us to be happy with vaccination because that’s all that gives us hope for better days.”
4. “Mr. Vaccine: Public Health Saves Lives” by opippi
Luis Pippi, a Brazilian artist and designer based in Porto Alegre, centered this design around Mr. Vaccine, an original character that’s a small drop of blood wearing a health cross. “This superhero character represents science, and how we always owe our lives to it,” said Pippi. “It’s the perfect gift for healthcare professionals, public health workers, doctors, nurses, and everyone else who believes in helping the world with the vaccine.”
5. “Vaccinated Smiley Flowers” by 5EyeStudio
Chicago–based designer Maria Filar has made a variety of vaccine-themed artworks available in her Threadless Artist Shop. Some of those designs include “Vaccinated Smiley Flowers” and “I Got My Fauci Ouchie.”
Coming from a background of product design, Filar says she’s always looking to create designs that aren’t already on the market. “I think art and activism go hand in hand, but sometimes the designs don’t match the message of what I want to convey,” said Filar. “My work is colorful, retro-inspired, cheeky, and fun. I created the vaccinated designs specifically because I wanted to spread awareness and positivity around the vaccine issue, but still have it be cute enough to wear. It’s all about destigmatizing!”
Filar further explains that these designs aim to give others a peace of mind in the post-pandemic world. “I wanted a way for myself and other vaccinated people to feel comfortable and safe in situations where people aren’t wearing masks without having to constantly say it out loud,” she explains.
6. “Vaccinated & Be Free” by Happy Cat
In this clever design by Malaysian artist Jumali Katani—also known as Happy Cat—two astronauts ride on a syringe in front of the moon. “After being vaccinated, one can travel anywhere,” said the artist.
7. “I’m Black and Vaccinated” by kalidcmd
“Cop this if you’re Blac-cinated,” says Dr. Cyrus. “Research shows that people are more likely to try something new if they see someone else try it first—this is true about the COVID-19 vaccine. This is exactly what’s occurring with the COVID-19 vaccination. When you wear this shirt, you can help encourage herd immunity against COVID-19. Help us resume a safe and healthy lifestyle sooner rather than later.”
Dr. Cyrus, who appeared on MSNBC to address fears around the COVID-19 vaccine, is a Black queer woman who says she “treats her patients and designs as outside-the-box racial conflict workshops.” Another one of her fantastic designs says “I Got My Vaccine For My Mami, Papi, Abuelito + Abuelita.”
8. “Cool! I’m Vaccinated” by migspnz
This psychedelic, almost trippy tee shows a whimsically drawn flower giving the thumbs up alongside a nurse bee administering the vaccine. Chilean artist Miguel Ángel Espinoza Sepúlveda created this design as a part of an ongoing series of vaccine-themed merch.
The flower derives from the artist’s inspiration from nature. “In this case, thinking about the ‘injection’ as the sting of a bee came to mind,” he said. “I immediately envisioned a world where bees are health officials—scientific bees and doctors working hard to create medicine, and other nurse bees working to vaccinate plants that need their help to keep the world alive.”
Of course, it’s a metaphor for a vaccinated society. “It seemed like a good story to summarize in an illustration where a little bee is portrayed vaccinating a flower, since joy blooms in good health,” explains the artist. “This act is surrounded by several positive signs that reinforce the idea of trust that everything will be fine. The vaccine is good for everyone; we must rely on the work of the scientific community that strives to help solve this global problem. Getting vaccinated is part of the solution. It’s our way to support.”
9. “I’m Vaccinated” by wolfsothern
Created by Brooklyn-based comedian Austin Wolf-Sothern, this face mask shows a COVID-19 vaccination card, and is a part of his face mask series. As the comedian said in his own words, “I designed a mask for people who want to stay safe.”
10. “Fully Vaccinated, Science Wins!” by sachpica
Venezuelan designer Samuel Chávez created this design as a tribute to essential workers, medicine, and doctors. “I was inspired by all those people who investigate and learn every day to keep humanity safe from threats like this powerful virus that has had us terrified and away from our loved ones,” said Chávez. “That is why I appreciate science very much and I think it is the best. I think that spreading vaccines is important and necessary to achieve immunity against this virus and thus defend the people most vulnerable to it.”