Try not to be old and white, because if COVID-19 doesn’t kill you, woke public health experts will. Last week, Pfizer’s new coronavirus vaccine rolled out across the United States with 5.1 million doses expected to be administered by Christmas. A second vaccine from Moderna is on its heels adding 5.9 million doses to the tally. But with only 11 million doses immediately available, and each recipient requiring two, who gets jabbed first has become a hot political potato.
Professor Harald Schmidt at the University of Pennsylvania sees a silver haired lining to the limited supply. The expert on ethics tells the New York Times, “Older populations are whiter. Society is structured in a way that enables them to live longer. Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.”
Likewise, Dr. Peter Szilagyi at the University of California tells the Grey Lady that social justice demands prioritizing front line, essential personnel “because of the high proportion of minority, low-income and low-education workers” among them. Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch would exclude teachers, however, because “teachers have middle-class salaries, are very often white, and they have college degrees.”
According to the Daily Mail, 25 states plan to prioritize vaccinations based, in part, on race. After months of scolding the public that the virus does not discriminate, these public health officials intend to — “a bit.”