Emotional arguments are a terrible way to make policy. That’s never more true than when dealing with a deadly virus. For example, mask mandates continue to show little or no correlation with any slowing of the spread of COVID, yet they serve as an emotional crutch politicians lean on to shift responsibility for their own failures onto the public. The same is true of lock downs. Right now, we are witnessing heavily restricted states like California and New York endure their largest infection spikes yet while much maligned (and open) Florida continues to do better in comparison.
When it comes to the now available vaccine, we were once again presented with emotional gyrations via the guidelines from the CDC. First, they wanted to prioritize based on racial inequities, an absolutely insane idea that would see elderly people dying so a perfectly healthy, not at risk younger person of a certain race could get the vaccine first. After garnering sufficient blow-back, the CDC fell back on starting with “essential workers” because that’s the next most politically palatable direction to go.
Texas is saying no, instead choosing to follow the science.
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Note that CNBC tries to make this sound really nefarious. Texas is doing this “at the cost of excluding frontline essential workers” they scream into the ether. But it’s worth exploring exactly what that means. Most nurses are under 50 years old. Many of them are in their 20s and 30s. The majority of ancillary staff at hospitals and clinics also fall outside the most at risk age ranges for coronavirus. There is simply no science behind the idea of vaccinating a 35 year old nurse with no preconditions before a 78 year old woman in a nursing home. In fact, there are studies that say if you start by vaccinating only those above 65 years of age, you cut deaths by two-thirds.
To be frank, there is no other moral way to distribute a vaccine than by doing what will cost the least amount of death. The moment you start judging by age, race, and profession, you are diving into the realm of eugenics. There’s also the fact that “essential workers” covers a ton of ground. Did you know flacks who work at CNN are considered “essential workers?” Anyone think Jake Tapper should be getting the vaccine before a grandmother? Teenagers and 20-somethings that work at fast food establishments, god bless them, should not get the vaccine before the elderly. Prioritizing by anything but actual risk is simply idiocy. Yes, frontline and other essential workers do great things, but if we are supposed to be following the science, let’s actually follow the science.
Good for Texas for taking this stand. Hopefully, other states will follow suit and do the right thing so that the maximum amount of life can be saved.