2532: Censored Vaccine Card
|Censored Vaccine Card|
Title text: CVS's pharmacies are fine, but I much prefer their [censored]s.
The comic hinges on the sharing of vaccination card photos on social media as proof that the user has been vaccinated against COVID-19 (in this case, gotten a booster shot, a third dose of the vaccine). When people in the United States first started receiving their vaccine shots, a large number of them shared photos of the CDC vaccination proof cards that they received alongside the vaccines; it was enough of a trend that the FTC released an official statement warning vaccine recipients not to share photos, due to the cards containing personal identification that probably should not be made public.
The irony here is that Randall has "censored" (redacted) some impersonal lines, such as the instructions that are identical on all vaccination cards, and many easy-to-guess lines, while not censoring any of said personal information. Considering the date of the 3rd dose (one day prior to the comic's uploading), it is likely that the blackouts in the last line are only covering whitespace.
Another possible reference here is to the practice of filing for FOIA requests that has been getting more popular in recent years, with sites like muckrock.com developing to support it. These requests provide for citizens to view the contents of government files, but the files first go through a process of redaction via solid black rectangles. The information that is redacted can seem random, ridiculous, and frustrating, and be a source of legal action.
The caption indicates that his intention is to "seem more mysterious". This is best exemplified by the blanking of most of the word "clinician" to leave the acronym "CIA", referring to the US government agency known for its frequently "mysterious" (classified) activity, as well as its liberal use of redaction like that in the comic.
The "19" in COVID-19 is systematically censored in the comic. This is humorous because currently COVID-19 is the only thing that could be meant by "COVID-[anything]", and so the redaction is pointless. This may also be intended, in the interest of mystery, to imply some future outbreak of a similar disease (given an identifier based on the year of its inception).
The sentence at the top of the card, which appears once in English and once in Spanish, has equivalent portions redacted in both languages:
- "medical information" and "the vaccines you have received" in the English version, and
- "información médica" and "las vacunas que ha recibido" in the Spanish.
This is one of the comics (another being 1434: Where Do Birds Go) including a sentence (or, given the censorship, at least a good portion of one) in Spanish.
CVS Pharmacy is a pharmacy chain in the US which provides COVID-19 vaccinations. CVS #05309 is in Pineville, LA, while Randall lives in Massachusetts; it is not clear why he would have received his first vaccine dose in Louisiana.
The title text comments on the "Provider or clinic site" of the second dose on the card. Where the word "pharmacy" appears in the previous row (and would be on a real card), it is censored in the comic. The most reasonable assumption is that the word is still "pharmacy" and that Randall has simply chosen to redact that instance for some reason, but the title text humorously implies that it was in fact some other CVS-related venture where he got his second dose, for instance a "CVS parking lot" or perhaps an anti-submarine warfare carrier.
Randall's patient number is the 2nd to 9th digits of the fractional part of the decimal expansion of pi inclusively: 41592653.
The lot numbers of the first and second doses allude to two numbers that appear frequently in Star Wars and other works related to George Lucas: 1138, and 2187. Forty comics later, in 2572: Alien Observers, THX 1138 is also indirectly referenced in the number of one of the humans mentioned. The lot number of the third dose is the Ramanujan-Hardy number.
The Clinician number for the first shot is the last 4 digits of the phone number for "Jenny" 867-5309, which has been entered into communication technology by a massive number of people.
Given the reasonable assumption that the partially censored year relates to the twentieth century, the date of birth on the card corresponds to that given in the acknowledged timeline for Randall. The censorship of that specific part of his date of birth might be related to the fact that the number "19" has been systematically redacted on the card. Another interpretation is that Randall is implying he is either over one hundred years old or a time traveler, although neither is likely to be true.
- [Profile picture of a Cueball's head and shoulders, with unreadable lines of text to the right.]
- Check it out, I just got my booster!
- [Picture of the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card attached on a media post. The card includes pre-printed information in black and handwritten information in blue, the latter indicated here by bold text. Some of the text has been blacked out, indicated here by "[censored]".]
- COVID-[censored] Vaccination record card
- [At the upper right of the card appears the logo of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a stylized eagle surrounded by the words "Department of Health & Human Services USA", although those words are not legible in this drawing. Next to that appears the logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a shaded box with the letters "CDC" and the words "Centers for Disease Control and [censored]" below it.]
- Please keep this record card, which includes [censored]
- about [censored].
- Por favor, guarde esta tarjeta de registro, que incluye [censored]
- [censored] sobre [censored].
- Munroe Randall
- Last Name First Name
- 10-17-[censored]84 41592653
- Date of birth Patient number
- [A table fills the remainder of the card. It has four columns and five rows. The first row gives the column names:]
- Vaccine. Manufacturer lot number. Date. Provider or clinic site.
- [The rest of the rows have been filled out. Each "date" cell also includes pre-printed "MM DD YY" below the line where the date is written.]
- 1st dose COVID-[censored]. Pfizer ER1138. 04/01/21. CVS Pharmacy Clinician #5309.
- 2nd dose COVID-[censored]. Pfizer ES2187. 04/22/21. CVS [censored] [censored].
- Other. 3rd dose [censored] FH1729. 10/21/21. [censored] [censored] [censored]CIA[censored].
- Other. [censored]. [censored]/[censored]/[censored]. [censored].
- [Caption below panel:]
- Security tip: To seem more mysterious, try censoring only non-identifying information.
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