Don’t Turn on others over COVID vaccines

In the last few days I’ve seen a growing number of people turning on others they perceive cutting the vaccine line. Most of the people complaining of line cutting are not healthcare workers but community members. I’m sure many mean well are are trying to be supportive of physicians, nurses, and other frontline workers while some come across as angry.

I understand that many people are justifiably frustrated with those politicians that either directly said or through their behavior made clear they thought COVID-19 was a hoax, but were first in line for the vaccine. Then there were those people who are not healthcare workers at all, but hold positions of privilege like religious leaders. Finally, there were healthcare administrators who do not have direct patient contact but managed to be in the first group. Of course, there are also people like me that volunteered to give vaccines and as a result of being present at the end of the day when they needed to use up the vaccines that would expire was lucky enough to be given one.

I don’t think we should be frustrated or angry with any of these people. Let me begin with the politicians that promoted COVID-19 as a hoax and or acted in ways that were irresponsible by not wearing masks, social distancing, and encouraged others to do the same. By taking the vaccine and rushing the line they are clearly admitting they were wrong. Their vaccine selfies are their public confession of misleading the public, errors, and/or dishonesty. We should accept it as the statement it is and recognize that the. people that voted for them would never listen to someone like me. However, they may follow the example of that person they trust. If that gets people in communities to line up for the vaccine that is good.

One person who was the brunt of public outrage was a 70 year old Bishop. I agree by any current criteria he was not on the list of first in line, but the reality is there are a lot of people that will see him getting vaccinated and follow his example. We need people in positions of leadership (political, medical, religious) to be examples and show their belief in the vaccines. I think it is especially important for the Bishop since there have been a couple of Bishops that were very negative with weak arguments about abortion that were refuted by moral theologians. Thus seeing a Bishop getting vaccinated sends a strong message that the claim that getting vaccinated is complicity with abortion is inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

As for the hospital administrators that never touch patients getting vaccinated ahead of front line providers it is important to remember they are part of the structure that keeps hospitals going. The average clinician has no idea how the supply chain works or how to keep the facilities going. Administrators are as critical to the a well functioning hospital as the facilities staff and custodians. A hospital is a team activity. It will not function well or long with only physicians and nurses.

As a country we are tired, frustrated, and honestly a little scared. We have made it this far together and will make it to herd immunity by working as a country. We need to pull together and support vaccinations because vaccinations are the solution to COVID-19. If anything we need to focus our efforts toward better vaccination plans, getting the vaccines out into the communities, and arranging mass vaccination clinics. This may mean we need to make people more responsible for their record keeping and get shots in arms rather than time consuming computer data entry tasks. My experience was the paperwork was taking much longer than the vaccinations and thus slowing the process.

I don’t care how much you denied that COVID-19 was real or dangerous. If you are willing to get a vaccine I’m willing to volunteer my time to give it and thank you for showing up. Please don’t let this divide us. Remember, some of those people being criticized have been asked to get vaccinated as a show of public support, others because of the federal continuity of operations plans, and others maybe out of fear. Let’s support everyone with a compassionate heart.

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