Respect community by waiting in line

Cutting line unethically could take vaccine from more in need individuals

Darcy Jubb, Senior Reporter

It is an indisputable fact that our community as a whole is privileged, and with this can come opportunity for areas of moral ambiguity. While access to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is increasingly feasible in the State of California, everyone has a responsibility to wait in line for their turn to protect those who are more vulnerable. 

The California Department of Public Health’s Allocation Guidelines Phase 1-A of distribution began with healthcare workers and long term care residents receiving the first doses. The eligibility pool has since moved to Phase 1-B, which includes childcare and education workers, emergency services, and farm and agriculture workers. Individuals ages 16-64 who are at higher risk of mortality by contracting COVID-19 are also eligible to receive the vaccine. 

With the various levels of closures throughout the pandemic, we have seen what life looks like with only basic necessities open and running. The most fundamental aspects of society require healthcare workers and first responders, and they need access to protection. Receiving a vaccine that could be for someone in one of these fields through connections or financial methods is not only morally unacceptable, but hurts our society as a whole. 

The phase system protects those most vulnerable or exposed to the coronavirus. As many members of the community are still ineligible to be vaccinated, wearing a mask, socially distancing and waiting your turn remains a responsibility in order to protect others. 

Although vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, we do not have a permission slip to be reckless. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines is an ongoing process that can shorten the length and effect of the pandemic. 

It is important that everyone is vaccinated as efficiently as possible, but this does not entail ignoring community standards of respect for others and cutting the line. 

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine doses once defrosted only last for six hours, according to the CDC. If the dose is going to be wasted due to appointment cancellations at a pharmacy or vaccination site, it is not unethical to get the vaccine; however in San Francisco, extra doses are hard to come by. 

Traveling to another city or county to get vaccinated takes slots away from individuals in other areas who are more in need. Those with the privilege of working from home or having the equipment to protect against COVID-19 should not take away the chance for an individual more at risk of getting the coronavirus. 

The pandemic has highlighted looking after one’s own health, but has also highlighted the importance of prioritizing the greater good of the community. 

It is more beneficial for those in areas with greater populations and higher infection rates like the Tenderloin and Chinatown to get vaccinated first because it translates to a lower number of cases. 

The number of vaccines available combined with the opportunity to utilize  privilege to cut the line creates an ethical dilemma. We need to show respect for others through prioritizing the safety of those around us by not cutting the line and continuing to follow safety regulations. This is a lesson of mutual respect the pandemic is teaching us, and we must adhere to it.