I had some labs drawn on me the morning of January 4th at a local LabCorp, and I asked the technician if she'd received her Covid vaccine yet.
"No," she answered. "And I haven't heard anything about it. I just keep praying."
That seemed very strange and unfair to me. Those technicians are facing people coming in for Covid testing every day of the week, and I would consider them at high risk.
I finally received my first of two Moderna vaccinations on January 2, 2021, behind emergency room and intensive care unit personnel, which is appropriate. The next vaccine will be in four weeks. But there's a lot of disagreement about who should get it first. In my opinion, the groups that get it should be in this order:
Emergency Medical Personnel - This includes physicians, nurses, assistants and orderlies who work in wards in the hospital with people who are sick with Coronavirus. Why do they come first? Because if they get sick or have to quarantine - and it already happens much more frequently than you think - the medical care system collapses. Hospitals are already running out of urgent care beds. Imagine if a hospital had to turn you away because it had no physicians?
Essential Workers - This is a broad category, and includes food service handlers, garbage truck drivers, grocery store employees and health care personnel who see patients. I don't treat Covid in a hospital, but if a patient is going blind due to uncontrolled glaucoma, I need to be well. Each day, I face up to 50 patients up close. Yes, I wear an N95 mask and face shield whenever possible. But it's a calculated risk. Getting a vaccine for doctors like myself is therefore important. But I would tell you that the grocery store employees, food processors, and food truck driver are just as important as I am.
High Risk Patients - This is not only the elderly, but also people who are obese, have hypertension, diabetes or other lung or circulatory diseases. And it especially includes people of color, who disproportionately die from Covid-19. Sadly, the history of Blacks in our country includes medical experimentation, which is one of the many reasons that they remain untrusting of getting a vaccine.
Middle Aged Adults - Sorry, if this is you, you're likely to be fourth in line. And with the poor distribution and shortages, I expect there will be a lot of jockying to get to the top of this list. Because both vaccines require deep refrigeration, make sure your source is trustworthy. If the vaccine is left out at room temperature too long, it will be ineffective.
Young Adults - Covid can have dire consequences in this group, but the death rate is lower. So they're at the bottom of the priority list. There are even discussions about this group receiving a half-dose of vaccine to help with distribution, although that was not studied in the data presented to the FDA