Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's a contentiously capitalistic COVID vaccine competition on Conan

Illustration for article titled It's a contentiously capitalistic COVID vaccine competition on Conan
Screenshot: Conan

Hey, there’s a COVID vaccine! We should be dancing in the streets—but at a safe distance from each other while wearing masks, since only some test subjects and a nice little old British lady have taken it so far! And then there is the fact that a large but as-yet-undetermined percentage of the American population (somewhere between 70 and 90 percent, according to experts) will have to take the vaccine to achieve anything resembling the herd immunity necessary for life to tentatively revert back to whatever counts as normal after all this. And there’s the report that the Trump administration—in addition to its hands-on approach to infecting literally everyone it comes in contact with the virus it’s purportedly combatting—said a hand-wavy “No thanks” to purchasing enough vaccine to go around when it had the chance. And that’s all complicated by the fact that some polling shows that those wacky anti-vaxxers, conspiracy dingbats, the odd celebrity non-scientist, and other assorted selfish dipshits have themselves infected a large number of logic-compromised Americans with the decision not to take a potentially life-, neighbor-, economy-, and sanity-saving COVID vaccine. You know, because this is America, dammit!

Where were we? Oh, right, good news! There’s a COVID vaccine. Or, rather, more than one, since major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna have both announced major breakthroughs in injection-based not-dying. Now, some bleeding hearts may quibble about the potential cure to the most calamitous health crisis in recent history being farmed out to competing private, profit-generating entities rather than as a result of collective data-sharing and other pinko/socialist/beneficent endeavor for the common good of all humanity, but this is America, dammit! At least that’s the implicit message shared by two very real Pfizer and Moderna spokespeople on Monday’s Conan (who were not played by actors from Conan O’Brien’s staff, no matter what your dumb memory thinks it saw).

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With Conan playing things newsreader-straight, the two reps nodded along in satisfaction of a job well done with the undeniably good news about the stellar success rate each companies’ vaccines have had in preventing transmission of the coronavirus. That is, until Conan started getting into actual numbers, as Pfizer’s initial claim of a 90 percent effective vaccine was quickly trumped (in the now-passé sense anything with “trump” in it meaning “better than”) by Moderna’s claimed 94.5 percent effectiveness. That set off, apparently, a flame war of inspiration at both the Moderna and Pfizer HQs, as each spokesperson received totally, 100 percent real texts, emails, and calls with brand new, hot-off-the-centrifuge figures, upping thee companies’ miracle cures until one supposedly reached 99.99-repeating percent effectiveness. Plus, each company’s vaccine may be strawberry-flavored and come with a generous helping of delicious side dishes. And that’s when the mud-slinging, conspiracy theory sabotage about X-Files-style government-implanted injection microchips, and cuckolding insinuations came in. You know, because America, dammit! A suspicious, heavily accented “respectable Russian, doctor-type human” did break into the Conan Zoom call at one point to tout that country’s announced even better vaccine, but its defenestration-based murder of the COVID virus sounds a little sketchy, if we’re being honest.

For actual information about the COVID vaccines, listen to Dr. Fauci. And not your MAGA uncle sending you Facebook links. Or, you know, the current president.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.