Words We're Watching

'Vaxication': All I Ever Wanted

For those who get the shot and go.

What to Know

Vaxication—a combination of vaccine and vacation—has increased in use as the COVID-19 vaccine has become more available to the public. The word is used humorously to describe the post-vaccination travel plans people are making.

suitcase with mask and sunglasses on it

Gotta get away...

A year living under the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge of new word coinages, many of them portmanteaus (e.g., quarantini, covidiot), that suit our strange new normal.

As vaccines are made increasingly available to the public, and people get their so-called "Fauci Ouchie," the faint promise of an end to the pandemic is on the horizon. Naturally, then, another portmanteau has arisen for what people plan to do once it is safe to travel again: vaxication.

Some newly vaccinated people will be ready to get on a plane and travel far from home — or at least as far as destination entry requirements allow. I have friends that have booked vaxications to Hawaii, Mexico and various Caribbean islands.
— Andrea M. Rotondo, The Points Guy, 19 Mar. 2021

While some experts believe that pent-up demand will have people rushing in large numbers to book “vaxications,” others, including Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, think the return to travel will be gradual, with people easing their way back.
— Tariro Mzezewa et al., The New York Times, 22 Dec. 2020

Vaxication combines vacation with vax, a word formed by shortening and altering vaccine (and a spelling which we find in other terms like anti-vax). The notion behind vaxication comes from the belief that people, anxious to get out into the world after a year of cabin fever, will fuel a boom for safe destination travel.

A travel-marketing firm claimed credit for coining the word:

Perhaps we will see vaccination vacation packages in 2021 or a trend tied to a term we have coined, “Vaxication,” to commemorate the first trip people take after treatment. In this way, the timing of vaccines is quite important to a recovery timeline.
— Clayton Reid, MMGY Global, 16 Dec. 2020

It is very possible that vaxication won't stick around as part of the language if we reach a point where the pandemic is far behind us. Then they'll just go back to being any-old-excuse vacations again. Not that that's a problem to us.

Words We're Watching talks about words we are increasingly seeing in use but that have not yet met our criteria for entry.



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