equity and the covid vaccine distribution

the CDC yesterday came out with their recommendations for priority groups who ought to receive the covid-19 vaccination when it is finally available. most people would agree with the top priorities of front line workers such as nurses and doctors who work in hospitals with those infected by the virus. reasonable people would also agree that people who are elderly and live in care facilities are a priority. it is understandable that “essential workers” also ought to be high on the priority list.

it was not a strong recommendation as the above groups but those who have medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes and those over 65 years of age that leave them more vulnerable to the virus ought to have higher consideration too.

i thought this was important info from the new york times: “Dr. José Romero, the chairman of the panel, said that he felt strongly that its process had adhered to its core principles: ‘maximizing benefit and minimizing harm,’ promoting justice and addressing health inequities.” (emphasis is mine)

of course, implementation of the recommendations is up to each state.

the groups of people mentioned in the above recommendations make good sense and i hope that as many people as possible in these vulnerable groups get the vaccine as soon as possible. i will be interested in how various states respond. being in seattle, i will see most readily how washington implements the distribution of the vaccination.

will “promoting justice and addressing health inequities” continue to be a guiding principle in the distribution? i certainly believe that this is a concrete opportunity to see where people’s values really are. this guiding principle is consistent with our catholic teaching on the preferential option for the poor.

since communities of people of color are adversely affected by covid, will these communities have priority over other neighborhoods? it would surprise me if the seattle area counties did not do this. but what about other areas in the state and country?

will black and brown people be neglected again? perhaps the distribution of the vaccine will show concretely the places where “black lives (truly) matter.” how will money and influence affect the choices that need to be made with a precious resource in a time of crisis.

i hope and pray too for farm worker, dairy and meat processing communities. will our brothers and sisters in these businesses be placed in that “essential worker” category and receive the shots before others? even if they are in this stated category, will implementation have a similar sense of urgency as teachers and police officers?

may the Holy Spirit continue to lead and guide us through this important moment in minimizing the effects of this coronavirus for the safety and health of our sisters and brothers– especially those who are most vulnerable. may we respond well with courage and wisdom to the promptings of the Spirit. may we have the will to do justice and love in action for all.


  1. DC says:

    will “promoting justice and addressing health inequities” continue to be a guiding principle in the distribution?

    Awesome question and thought process.


  2. Gina says:

    Thoughtful ideas I agree with Art!


  3. #farmworkersmatter


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