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Doctors Adapt 'Hamilton' Musical To Encourage Vaccination

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, a group of doctors in California is taking a creative approach to vaccine promotion.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Rapping) It's the C-O-R-O-N-A-V-I-R-U-S. It's COVID-19.

ANDREW LIU: I am the person who wrote the lyrics to the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "My Shot."

MARTIN: Doctor Andrew Liu is a physician in Vacaville, Calif. He heads a group of doctors that go by the stage name Vax'n 8, as in the number eight. But a disclaimer...

LIU: Actually, there's only seven of us. We're Vax'n 8. You know, it sounded better, but there's actually only seven of us.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Rapping) I'm not throwing away my shot. I'm not...

LIU: I've heard of a public initiative to promote vaccinations using the hashtag #notthrowingawaymyshot.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Singing) ...Shot. I have seen a thing or two in med college.

LIU: I thought, well, you know, I liked the musical. It's just the logical next step to use the song itself to promote vaccination.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Singing) ...A zoonotic virus for which we've no knowledge.

LIU: We've got really good reception. My mom started promoting this too, to, like, some Chinese newspaper. And then she, like, told this reporter all this stuff about my - you know, her making me do piano when I was younger and stuff. It was quite hilarious.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Singing) ...Tried to manage it. Without a way forward, we're beaten down and damaged.

LIU: As you recall, the Americans in China, Wuhan - they were actually repatriated back to Travis Air Force Base. And as it turns out, the closest hospital to there is actually our hospital. Some people thought we were all getting infected, and Vacaville was going to be ground zero and everything. Turns out it was actually kind of a blessing in disguise in that, you know, we only had maybe a few patients from this batch, but it gave us a lot of time to train and to be prepared.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Singing) ...Bringing back our very lives and normalcy. I'm not throwing away my shot. I'm not throwing away my shot.

LIU: After the holidays, our hospital was full. The ER was full.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Singing) I'm not throwing away my shot. I have dealt with death so much it fills up my memory.

LIU: Yeah, it's very grim. And the song's supposed to be kind of a feel-good, happy song. But I wanted to get it out to people that, you know, yeah, you only see the world outside the hospital. But if you saw what I saw in the hospital and all of the people who are not making it and then the families who are - you know, can't even come to visit the patients on their deathbeds and, you know, me having to do these calls to family members at 1 a.m., telling them that their family member has passed.

We're glad the surge is over, but, you know, we can really do without another surge here, you know? This - it would be optimal, and hopefully, our message gets out, people get vaccinated and hopefully we're done.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Rapping) What's the state of our nation? It's 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.

MARTIN: That was Dr. Andrew Liu and the Vax'n 8 performing their adaptation of "My Shot."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY SHOT")

VAX'N 8: (Singing) I'm just like my country. I'm down, tired and angry. And I'm not throwing away my shot. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.