OP/ED: The COVID-19 Vaccine and Those Who Could Not Wait To Get It


The Biden administration vowed to supply Americans with enough vaccine to get at least 70 percent of adults with a dose by July 4. Up until now, at least 45 percent of the total U.S. population received the vaccine, according to the COVID data tracker by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Luckily for those wanting to get the vaccine, it is now more likely that you can just walk up to your local pharmacy and have access to it. However, weeks before President Biden’s promise, certain people took all types of measures to get ahead in the vaccination line.

“It didn’t affect me, I didn’t care. I think everyone knows about themselves, and we have to understand that there were people really desperate to take the vaccine. Here in the U.S., the vaccine arrived relatively quickly for everyone. Thanks to God here in this country the vaccine distribution is going very well, and very fast in comparison with other places,” said Eduarda Dias, 23 of New York.

The ethical commotion behind the vaccine became quickly controversial, with limited vaccine quantity, questions raised. Who should have access to the COVID-19 vaccine first and why? Who is considered essential and most vulnerable? The Association of American Medical College(AAMC) explains that the priority was placed starting with the elderly, nursing home residents, and nursing home staff followed by health care workers to help stabilize the health care system.

“I think it was very ugly, especially any healthy person who took the turn of the elderly and lied about having health problems or being a healthcare worker to skip the queue. I know a lot of people who did that (at my workplace), and I am not saying this based on speculation but based on people whose medical history I have access to and I know that they do not have any comorbidities, just an agenda,” said Elizabeth Prado, 39 of Florham Park, NJ.

It is hard to classify those who skipped the line as simply unethical, there are a lot of factors that come into play when making such categorization. While some indeed jumped the line to escape the pandemic and to be able to travel and things of that nature, others who skipped had a more ominous matter caused by intense fear.

“I find it difficult to judge, because some people may not have medical conditions, but have depression or other mental illnesses that make them go into despair to take and decide to skip the line. There are also people who have lost their jobs and do not classify them as essential workers, but would need the vaccine to return to work or would be better positioned in the market like that. I do not judge, but I waited for my turn,” said Nathalya Desterro, a 43-year-old clerk from New York.

There have been instances when vaccination centers had extra dosages for that particular day, in that case, isn’t it better to vaccinate who you can and people who are around rather than just letting the vaccine go to waste? The Moderna and Pfizer [vials of] vaccines once opened need to be finished. Moderna has 10 doses per vial, and Pfizer has five or six, according to the AAMC.

The fear of being entrapped by a pandemic can make people do irrational things, and the multiple months and days of quarantine certainly took a toll on society’s mental health.

There were a lot of factors that came into question when deciding one’s eligibility, different states prioritized different needs. Hopefully, there are brighter days ahead and vaccinations are being made easily accessible to anyone.

Currently, all New Yorkers ages 16 years and older are eligible for the vaccine; however, many clinics in Westchester recommend that a person must be at least 18 years of age and older, according to the Westchester County Department of Health.

Those who jumped in line, it made sense. To them. Perhaps you did what was needed to be done to protect your family. But what about those who were in jeopardy but not eligible to do so. I hope it was worth it. Because if you were not in need, then looking yourself in the mirror may be harder than wearing a mask and waiting your turn.