Who Should Be Next in Line? | Sojourners

Who Should Be Next in Line?

Christian ethics offers guidance on how to distribute the vaccine.
Illustration of a vaccine needle behind a barrier.
Illustration by Michael George Haddad

ACCORDING TO PSYCHOLOGISTS, fairness is one of our most innate moral intuitions. As a parent, I can vouch for this because I routinely navigate the extra-sensitive fairness meters of bickering siblings. Young or old, we protest perceived slights in the same terms: “That is so unfair!”

This snap judgment, however, is not always accurate. Consequently, when circumstances trigger a reflexive accusation of unfairness, we should pause to verify that we are not off base. As Christians, especially, we must test our gut reactions against the insights of our faith to ensure that our intuitions match our convictions.

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is a paradigmatic illustration of this responsibility.

With a limited supply likely deep into 2021, many who want the vaccine will be unable to get it for quite some time. Recognizing this reality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has created guidelines for who should have priority at each stage of the rollout. According to ACIP, health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities have priority, and after that essential workers and those over 75 should have access before anyone else.

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