Don’t Feel Guilty About Being Vaccinated Against COVID

Despite all the money and lubrication that has been invested in the development of vaccines against COVID-19, one would think that vaccination of people is a priority project. But very few resources have been devoted to any effort to actually get the vaccine into the hands of the people. We do not have an organized and efficient system. Instead, we have vaccines that are wasted in some places and not available in others .

I believe this process will eventually be settled now that there is actually a national COVID plan . Ironically, it helps that we’ve seen how every state’s vaccination plan can fail. In New York, for example, hefty fines were imposed to deter healthcare providers from vaccinating VIPs who were not in priority groups. But these rules required providers who had an extra vaccine at the end of the day to throw out doses instead of giving them to employees or patients who were not on the list. (The rule has been amended since then .)

As a result, as Melinda Wenner Moyer writes in the New York Times , sometimes people feel guilty if they can get the vaccine but are not in the priority group. Maybe you’re shopping for DC groceries when the pharmacy closes for the day and you’re randomly offered a shot. Or maybe you can make an appointment through work while your more vulnerable elderly relatives cannot get through the government portal .

If this is you, the best thing to remember is that avoiding a vaccine does not automatically make it available to those who need it most. The problems that need to be corrected here are systemic, not individual. You can campaign for your workplace or staff to distribute doses more equitably and take the shot for yourself when your turn comes.

If you really think it’s better not to be vaccinated, you can check how doses are administered and what will happen to “your” dose if enough people do not come. (However, if you decide not to take the vaccine because you don’t want to yet, it’s up to you. The safety data is very good so far, but you always have the right to refuse.)

We must vaccinate the most vulnerable people first , and there has been a lot of debate on this and there is room for reasonable disagreement. But importantly, everyone who receives the vaccine is potentially a broken link in the transmission chain. You may not be the person who needs protection the most, but if it turns out that the vaccine prevents people from passing it on to others – which it probably is – then getting vaccinated will still help you protect others. Moyer also notes that being protected from the virus also means you can take better care of others who get sick.

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