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Give way to those in priority list

/ 05:01 AM March 12, 2021

With the rollout of the vaccines for COVID-19 last week, the top priority recipients are health care workers in government and private hospitals, particularly those with COVID wards. Some have received the vaccine that is available, while others are opting to wait for the vaccine of their choice.

The vaccines coming in are donations by countries that are far better off than us. We are just receiving their leftovers, so to speak, out of the goodness of their benevolent hearts. This is all good. Beggars can’t be choosy at this point. But, sad to say, with a limited number of doses coming in, some have managed to get themselves vaccinated even if they are not in the priority list. This is selfish. Of course, we all want to be protected from infection. We all want to be vaccinated, health care worker or not. But in a pandemic that has been ongoing for a year now, we should give way to those in the priority list. There is a reason they are on that list.

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If more health care workers get sick at this rate, especially with the new variants, then who would take care of patients infected with COVID-19? Health care workers include doctors, nurses, medical technologists, radiologic technologists, nursing aides, janitors, therapists, and other health-allied professions. I’d say even the security guards who greet patients at the hospital entrance should be vaccinated.

We should not deprive those in the priority list of the vaccines intended for them. There are now stories emerging of government officials and private citizens not included in the priority recipients reserving doses for their family and relatives. Every dose given to these nonpriority recipients translates to one health frontliner not given the vaccine. Since the vaccines are donations, we don’t know when the next batch would arrive.

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It gets my goat that some have cut the line for their own sake. I am a health care worker. I work in a multispecialty clinic and have no access to any COVID-19 vaccine. I am waiting for the herd immunity to take effect, which will take some time.

PAMELA I. CLAVERIA, MD, [email protected]

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, healthcare workers, priority list, vaccine
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