According to CBS News, a CDC panel has recommended that frontline essential workers be the next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine, followed by those over 65. Who are these frontline essential workers? CBS News says the group includes “first responders, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, those who work in education, public transit workers, grocery store workers, and those who work in manufacturing, food and agriculture,” or about 30 million people.

The New York Times reports that “in a meeting last month, all voting members of the committee indicated support for putting essential workers ahead of people 65 and older and those with high-risk health conditions.” But according to the CDC, giving the vaccine to the elderly first would actually save more lives, so what’s going on? A professor managed to heat up the discussion by telling the New York Times that the elderly population is whiter — more privileged, you could say.

The New York Times reports:

Harald Schmidt, an expert in ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said that it is reasonable to put essential workers ahead of older adults, given their risks and that they are disproportionately minorities. “Older populations are whiter, ” Schmidt said. “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.”

We can start to level the playing field a bit by giving the vaccine to the more diverse group of essential workers first? Really?

We told you that the CDC itself found that vaccinating the elderly first would save more lives, but there’s that sticky question of “ethics.” Here’s a very long thread by David Algonquin that spans a couple of days but lays out how the CDC arrived at its conclusion. Ethically, they pondered, how could they best promote justice with the vaccine?

“Often our Hispanic, Black and Tribal Nations families care for their elderly in multigenerational households and they are also at significant risk.”

For what it’s worth, Tulsi Gabbard says she’ll wait her turn after the elderly go first.

Congress is already getting their shots. Don’t forget the ER doctor snarking over Sen. Marco Rubio getting the vaccine before him but saying nothing about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez getting it as “basically a national security measure.”

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