First: Healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.
Second: Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, food and agricultural workers, Postal Service workers, grocery store workers, teachers and other groups with wide access to the public. Also people over 75 years in age who aren’t in long-term care facilities.
Third: People of ages 65 through 74 not in long-term care facilities and those aged 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.
Fourth: Everyone else as supplies become available.
These are only recommendations, and each state can formulate its own rules. Those for my state, Florida, were announced recently by our governor, Ron DeTrump.
First: Same as above.
Second: People aged 65 and older not included in the first phase.
Third: Front-line essential workers, particularly law enforcement officers, firefighters, and teachers.
He said that it makes “no sense for someone who’s 42 to jump ahead of somebody who’s 70 years old.”
I think the governor, not for the first time, is getting priorities wrong.
Let’s look at me. I would be in the second group under either plan. I have at most one contact outside my home each week and it is always accompanied by masks, distance, and fresh air. I will be lucky to have another ten years on this earth.
A 20-year-old grocery clerk, by the very nature of her job, comes into contact with hundreds of people every day and, despite all precautions she may take, has an increased risk of getting the virus or giving it. Furthermore, she may be attending in place classes in college or enjoying the foolishness of youth by meeting peers in large groups. If she survives the virus, she probably has five or more decades of life remaining.
Why would anyone think I should be placed in line before the grocery clerk?
Well, I can take a guess at what the governor could have been thinking. I’m more likely to be white. I’m more likely to vote. I’m more likely to be a Republican. I’m more likely to donate to the Republican cause. Fifty percent correct in my case, but statistically it’s probably right.
Our grocery clerk, on the other hand, is more likely to be Black or of another minority, to not vote but if she does it probably will be for a Democrat, to not have enough money to pay her rent let alone donate to the Republican cause.
Then there’s the image: The poor elderly gentleman shuffling down the street leaning on a walker. Who wouldn’t want to save the life of dear old granddad? Besides, the grocery clerk could have been part of the rowdy crowds participating in those immoral demonstrations against police brutality.
Now, to be fair, I should say I don’t know what’s really behind our governor’s decision regarding the vaccine priorities. However, I think it speaks volumes that what I have outlined here, based on the governor’s previous stands, would even come to mind.
No matter his justifications, though, I think his policy is wrong.
But I’m going to get my shot anyway—if I can ever get an appointment.