A Northern California doctor has merged his love of Broadway musicals and his mission to promote COVID-19 vaccine safety into a creative reimagining of “My Shot” from “Hamilton.”
When vaccines started winning approval late last year, Dr. Andrew Liu said part of the rollout involved doctors posting photos of themselves getting inoculated, with the hashtag “#ImNotThrowingAwayMyShot” — a line from a popular song in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit 2015 musical.
Liu, who practices in Vacaville, said he decided to take it “one step further.” Troubled by the reluctance of some to get the vaccine, he began writing lyrics to promote the virus-fighting drugs to the tune of Miranda’s song. He recruited six other local healthcare workers, including his wife, to perform it. It took about three months to record, shoot and edit the video project with the help of a local filmmaker.
A video for Liu’s rendition of the song was released earlier this month, featuring lyrics like, “I’m past patiently waiting. I’m passionately smashing misrepresentation. Every shot’s an act of affirmation. I’m standing in the way of casualties and sorrow. For the first time, I’m thinking past tomorrow.”
For the finale, the group, performing under the name Vax’n 8, breaks into a choreographed dance while wearing face shields. Some are sporting scrubs as they sing, “I’m not throwing away my shot!”
“It’s a small miracle that it came together,” Liu said of that scene. It wasn’t easy for the group of busy doctors to block out a few hours to learn and execute a dance on the same day.
Since debuting, the video has garnered tens of thousands of views on YouTube and write-ups in newspapers around the country.
Dr. Tuong-Vi Ha, Liu’s wife, said it was a mental health project for her and the other participants.
“After the vaccine came out, all of us in healthcare, especially the physicians, we just couldn’t wait to get it. We wanted this thing to end,” said Ha, who works in family medicine. “And then we hear people having a lot of reluctance and just not trusting it. So we wanted to do something creative, relatable, and really combat all that misinformation.”
Ha and Liu are both fans of musicals and, pre-pandemic, saw shows all over the country, including a touring version of “Hamilton” in San Francisco a few years ago.
Liu said he reached out to Miranda’s team before embarking on the COVID-19 adaptation on his song and got their blessing, and he hopes the songwriter will watch the finished product.
“I think he’ll be impressed,” Liu said.