Please Stop Vaccine Shaming People
The point is to get shots in our arms, not to fight with each other
On Tuesday morning, the New York Times’ Katie Thomas wrote about a site called Dr. B. Dr. B is the sort of site that’s doing what the internet was intended to do back before it became nothing but cat videos and white nationalist memes. It brings people together to provide information in an efficient, helpful way that would be impossible otherwise.
Dr. B is the creation of Cyrus Massoumi, an entrepreneur who had heard about doses of vaccines being wasted because of missed appointments and medical providers being forced to destroy them rather than give them to someone who wants them. Basically, if you sign up for Dr. B, when there is a provider near you that has extra shots at the end of the day, they will text you. You have (roughly) 15 minutes to respond, and then get yourself to the vaccination site before the vaccine goes bad. The site is a grassroots attempt to eliminate waste and to help people. It strikes me as an unalloyed good.
It also made me feel guilty signing up. I am 45 years old with no preexisting conditions, I am not obese, no comorbidities, nothing that should move me up any priority groups for the vaccine. I was a regular pack-a-day smoker more than a decade ago, which would qualify me in North Carolina, but I don’t live in North Carolina. I live in Georgia, which, as it turns out, has the third-worst percentage of distributed and administered vaccines in the country. I do not need to move up in the queue, and I do not want to move up in the queue. This is particularly relevant when you see the widespread racial disparity in vaccine access and distribution nationwide. There is systemic inequity everywhere, and I do not want to contribute to it.
But I would also like to get my vaccine, as soon as I can, not just for myself but for the people I love around me. And this is the rub, right? While we wait for states to expedite their vaccine process and more shots to arrive throughout the country, the battle between “waiting your turn in line” and “not trusting your local government to do any of this right” becomes harder and harder to navigate. It feels particularly fraught when you look around and see other people in your own age group, in other states, getting…