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Who should receive the Covid-19 vaccine first?

Who should receive the Covid-19 vaccine firstA picture containing linedrawing

Description automatically generated Many of us would like to be first in line to receive a safe, effective vaccine against the Coronavirus when the inoculation is available.

Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds announced today that two vaccines are expected to arrive in the state around mid-December.

Reynolds said that the first shipment from Pfizer of about 26,000 doses is expected around December 13; the second quantity of 54,000 should come from Moderna a week later.

The governor declared that Iowa hospitals and long-term health care residences would be the first recipients based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As with every decision, however, the socio-politico-economic debate will focus on who should be first?  Implicit in this question is the assumption that some persons are more valuable or deserving than others.

Why, some might ask, should the elderly in nursing homes be among the first to receive the vaccines along with the nurses and doctors who care for them?  The old and infirm are no longer employed and they require more frequent and expensive health resources than younger working Americans.  Should compassion for nursing home residents trump the economic benefits of inoculating those individuals who can return to work and revive the nations sagging economy?

What about the poor and underprivileged Latinos, urban Blacks and rural Whites who already suffer chronic health problems and poor employment opportunities?  Social activists argue that it isn’t fair to push the nation’s socio-economic disadvantaged to the back of the line.

Inevitably there will be winners and losers in how the Covid-19 vaccines are distributed.  This Pandemic Polemic is certain to challenge medical professionals and policy makers as all interested parties struggle to decide how and when to inoculate millions of Americans. 

The answers are life and death choices.   Some observers will claim they will tell us who matters most.  The physical health of people is not the same as the wellbeing of a society.

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