General Question

crazyguy's avatar

Do you agree with vaccinating the elderly first?

Asked by crazyguy (3197points) December 1st, 2020

It is probably true that the elderly are at a greater risk of death or pother unpleasant effects of covid-19. It is also true that the elderly, who are for the most part retired, can shelter at home.

By contrast workers in essential industries have to be up and about, and are necessarily at greater risk of catching covid.

Should the younger essential workers be second in line for the vaccine?

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57 Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

I agree with vaccinating healthcare workers first. Then other essential workers. Then it should be other working age adults. Then we can decide who gets dibs next.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get it right !!!

First responders (doctors and medical personnel) then long term care patients and employees at long term care for my state !!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

maybe some whiners next September . . . .

JLeslie's avatar

I think healthcare workers first. That would of course include anyone working at long term health facilities. I think also the patients at long term facilities should be quickly behind health care workers if not at the same time if there is enough vaccine.

Then anyone working directly with the public.

Then anyone over 50.

Most people over 50 have had to be extra cautious for a year by the time they will be eligible. This includes not being with their children and grandchildren so it is affecting the younger people in their families.

I think people should keep wearing masks until at least 50% of the population has been vaccinated including people who were vaccinated. The exception might be in facilities where there is a 90% or higher vaccination rate.

I think anyone who has had covid should be at the end of the line for vaccination.

gorillapaws's avatar

Frontline healthcare workers
Seniors in long-term care facilities
Essential workers in high-risk professions
Highest health risk people
Everyone else

I’m not an epidemiologist. It’s my best guess for minimizing spread, but I would trust their opinion over my best guess.

JLeslie's avatar

I can see an argument for doing over 50 year olds before all people who work with the public.

Demosthenes's avatar

Maybe not the very first group, but they should be among the first.

I’m in a group that will probably be getting it dead-last but that’s alright. If everyone else gets it, that helps me. :)

sadiesayit's avatar

Not simply “the elderly,” but elderly people living in long-term care facilities, places which have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

This was a decision that experts in the field carefully deliberated based on facts and data, so yes, I agree with it. Some of the factors that went into the decision:

“Grim statistics led to the phase 1a grouping embraced by the panel. Residents of longterm care facilities and the staff there, who are considered health care workers, as of last week accounted for 6% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States and 40% of the deaths. In all, they represented 730,000 cases and 100,00 deaths. Residents of these facilities make up only 1% of the U.S. population. The U.S. government has negotiated with two national pharmacy chains to send teams to longterm care facilities to vaccinate staff and residents.

“And as hospitals and clinics have become flooded with COVID-19 patients, forcing nurses and physicians who face shortages of personal protective equipment to work long shifts, nearly 250,000 health care workers have been sickened by the disease themselves and 858 have died. ‘Vaccinating health care personnel supports the principle of maximizing benefits and minimizing harms through what we are calling the multiplier effect,’ said CDC’s Kathleen Dooling in a presentation, explaining that protecting this group keeps the medical system running and leads to ‘better health outcomes for all.’”


Also in that article—essential workers outside of the healthcare field are expected to be the very next priority group. (In the mean time, hopefully they are being adequately provided PPE, testing, contact tracing, and ways to stay distanced from others during their work shifts).

stanleybmanly's avatar

Speaking as an elder, and now thoroughly accustomed to hiding from the world, I don’t mind one bit waiting at the end of the line. Inoculate even the kids first. They’re at greater risk than I. After all, it’s my experience that schools just reek with contagion.

JLeslie's avatar

I would guess children will go through a small trial before it is rolled out to them. This is my GUESS. They will see how the adults are doing with it and then start with teens and then younger. They will have to adjust the dose and see if the children are building immunity.

By the way I think teachers should be in the first wave of vaccinations with the healthcare workers.

jca2's avatar

I can imagine when the vaccine comes out, no matter what the criteria is for who gets it first, there will be people trying to finagle their way to getting it first. I wonder if the facilities that have the vaccine will have to have armed guards or security to prevent people from trying to rush the facility and get their hands on it.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I feel pretty sure there will be finagling. I figure doctors will be able to say someone is high risk when maybe they don’t quite meet the criteria. Maybe there won’t be any monitoring of who gets the vaccine at all.

My governor will probably be a little political about it. I think my city gets it very early, because it’s lots of votes for him and we are older here so he can say it’s for that reason.

I’m sure the vaccines will be very protected. Armed guards would not surprise me at all.

anniereborn's avatar

Healthcare workers of all kinds should be first. Then those that live in any kind of care facility.
Next those that work closely with others such as teachers. After that those over 60 and any who are highly compromised.

Just my unofficial opinion of course. I have no medical training. I am 52 but medically compromised.

chyna's avatar

@JLeslie I disagree with your statement that people that have had Covid should be at the end of the line. Four of the 5 doctors I work with have had Covid in the summer. That does not make them immune. They should still get the vaccine, IMHO.

chyna's avatar

Also, I have read of outbreaks at prisons, so I think the guards and prisoners should be up there in the first round. Not at the top, but up there close.

ragingloli's avatar

Healthcare workers first, then proceed in order of risk factor. People highest at risk of dying first, then proceded down the list.

canidmajor's avatar

I have heard plan after plan for vaccine dispersal, and all of them seem to say that frontline medical workers should be vaccinated first, then the list includes most at risk people, nursing home workers and residents, essential workers and so on. “Elderly”, simply as a demographic, are not at the top of these lists.

So no, I don’t agree with vaccinating the elderly first.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Maybe all healthcare workers no matter what. It’s certainly simpler to just vaccinate them then to test them first, but if their antibody test comes back positive they are likely immune.

Has the vaccine been tested in people who already had covid? They might have bigger side effects from the vaccine, they might not, we don’t know most likely.

If they are already immune it’s wasting a dose on them that could go to someone else.

Medicine usually doesn’t test for immunity they just dose you up again, but it’s not always the best thing to do. Fertility doctors usually test for rubella rather than give you a shot just in case. Adults are more likely than children to have a bad reaction and there have been cases of women having problems with their fetus because they got pregnant too close to the time of the shot. If they are immune there is no need to risk revaccinating.

I know the health experts have been warning people you can get it twice, but that sounds doubtful to me. I do think it’s important everyone keep wearing masks, because I think the more people who wear them, the more people will wear them. A man I know wears a mask in the stores and he had covid early on, and he believes he’s immune (I’m just saying that’s what he believes I realize we don’t know for sure) and he always wears a mask while shopping, because he realizes strangers don’t know he’s had covid and he thinks masks do work and doesn’t want to be one of the people sending a signal to no-maskers that It’s ok to not wear a mask. I think that’s the main reason health experts tell people to still wear a mask even if vaccinated.

Plus, it’s flu season, and masks will help keep flu cases down. I checked the flu map and it’s just starting to creep up in some states. Other countries had extremely light flu seasons, we can too if we keep masks on and keep distancing. We won’t if we do our normal thing.

Just like I told jonsblond very early on that the medical people are saying don’t wear a mask, because they are trying to make sure healthcare workers get PPE, but she should wear one since she was working in a supermarket and has lung issues. That was obvious and somehow people fell for it at first. Masks help doctors but not the average person? We were being told there are asymptomatic people walking around and masks help protect others, but don’t wear a mask? That was obviously illogical and crazy talk. Don’t think the ivory tower experts won’t continue to manipulate the population for what they think is the greater good, and at least half of doctors will buy into whatever they are told without even questioning it.

My sister when she was in nursing school wasn’t allowed to wear gloves when she gave a patient a bath. They didn’t want the patient to feel bad. She was so grateful HIV changed that. My girlfriend works in a building adjacent to a hospital and her job entails rounding with the doctors. When covid hit she asked shouldn’t they all be wearing masks in the hospital and she was told no they don’t want to scare the patients.

My guess is the average person who has had a mild case of covid will willingly wait to get vaccinated.

By the way I didn’t write anywhere public that people should wear masks in early March, I told Johnsblond in a PM.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There are 330 million ways to slice this pie. I’d leave it up to the epidemiologists with the knowledge and computer models to decide.
Anyone who criticizes or tries to make it a political issue deserves to get a free kick in the nuts when it is their turn to get the vaccination.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy I knew I loved you, friend, now I know why. You found the right words!

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy That I agree with, even after that whole long thing I wrote.

gondwanalon's avatar

After the first responders get vaccinated then have a lottery where 360 birthdays (plus leap year) are pulled from a pot. You get vaccinated in the order that your birthday is pulled. Start out slow by pulling only 10 numbers. Then as more vaccine is available draw more numbers until there’s enough vaccine available for all. At the same time make money by raffling off vaccine does to the highest bidders.

janbb's avatar

@gondwanalon So the rich people who can shelter in place get to jump the line? That’s a really great idea! ~

elbanditoroso's avatar

I could probably qualify for the 3rd wave – over 65, with some underlying conditions. But I’m in pretty good shape overall, I take care of myself, and I don’t really mind waiting a while.

I figure that there will be some illnesses and deaths in the first two tranches, because of the hurried approvals. So the early people can die instead of me – when it’s my turn for the vaccine they’ll have figured out more about the risks.

Ability to pay (rich people first) should not be a factor, although I suspect it will become one.

kritiper's avatar

So far, as I have seen it, the people in nursing homes are second after health care workers. The general public that are over 65 are third in line.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@gondwanalon the problem with that approach is that birthdays are not evenly distributed across the year.- see chart

So a person born in September statistically will more likely run into supply shortages because there are more september births than february

Darth_Algar's avatar

@gondwanalon “At the same time make money by raffling off vaccine does to the highest bidders.”

I like this idea. Finally dropping even the pretense that our society is fair and equitable.

jca2's avatar

@gondwanalon: So you’d be ok with the Koch Brothers or Elon Musk getting the vaccine before anyone else, just because they could be the highest bidder?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 That’s probably how it will work anyway.

ragingloli's avatar

Well, to be fair, there is precedent in the Bible, Matthew 8

“When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “That will be 5000 denarii.”
Then man then complained and said “But I am poor. I do not make that much in 10 years.”
Jesus’ face became a grimace. He yanked his hand away from the man, and shouted “Fuck off, then.”

crazyguy's avatar

All, thanks for your answers.

By asking the question, I am not expressing any criticism or even disagreement with the recommendations. I am including this disclaimer primarily for the benefit of @LuckyGuy!

If the criterion is to minimize the number of deaths, it obviously makes sense to inject the people most likely to die of covid (elderly, pre-existing conditions).

If, on the other hand, the criterion is to minimize the risks of people who have to interact with others as part of their essential jobs, and not those who can shelter in place, either because they are retired or because they can work from home, those people should go first.

My inclination is to go with the latter criterion; but I would never second-guess the final decision, whatever it is.

As far as money being able to buy preferential treatment, that, unfortunately, is the way of the whole world. Get used to it!

jca2's avatar

@crazyguy: This is what I tell my daughter regarding fighting for fairness: “Life is not fair. You can fight to try to make things fair, and you might not win, but you can try.”

Hamb's avatar

@crazyguy: “Get used to it!”


ragingloli's avatar

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli I love that little poem.

@jca2 I totally agree with fighting unfairness. However, there is another saying:

For every malady under the sun
There is a remedy, Or there be none
If there be one, try to find it
If there be none, never mind it

jca2's avatar

@crazyguy: Would you advise a child not to try to fight for things they believe in?

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 Absolutely not. However, I would not like my child to keep banging his/her head against an immovable wall. I think human nature and greed are part of an immovable wall.

LadyMarissa's avatar

It’s NOT just the elderly!!! It’s the elderly who have been put in long term care facilities where C19 is running rampant.. They have NO home in which to shelter. Most are forced to share a room with someone else who has who knows what disease. PLUS, the nurse that just left a covid patient may well be the one taking care of a healthy person. As an elderly person who has the luxury of sheltering at home, I haven’t heard us mentioned other than to say everyone should have access to the vaccine by June.

crazyguy's avatar

@LadyMarissa You are, of course, absolutely correct. The two categories included in Group 1A are healthcare workers and long-term care residents. Since these two categories total almost 24 million people, there is probably no need at the moment top develop any other priorities (I have not seen them).

So, I guess, my question relates to Groups 1B and lower.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I vote for health care workers. You ever flown on a plane? If so then you know that if the oxygen masks drop, the parents are to put theirs on before they put the masks on their kids.

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy If there were none, how would you know??

Darth_Algar's avatar

@crazyguy “As far as money being able to buy preferential treatment, that, unfortunately, is the way of the whole world. Get used to it!”

Certainly. So by all means, lets encourage it as a matter of policy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Pretty sure that countries with universal health care everyone gets the.same level of treatment.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III More or less. In a lot of countries the people with money buy additional healthcare insurance or pay for care outside of the socialized system to get faster care or in some cases better care. Especially in the 3rd world countries there is sometimes a big disparity in the social system and private, but I don’t think we are talking about 3rd world for the Q.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Even in England, NHS is supplemented by private insurance.

Healthcare is a service with a price, so money definitely helps!

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper Are you saying that the CDC will put out just the top priority, and then it is a free-for-all?

JLeslie's avatar

Just to be clear, I am in favor of socialized medicine. I grew up in it (military care) my parents still use it (both DOD and VA for my dad) and it is better than what I experience out here in the private sector by far.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I totally agree with you. My wife and I are covered by Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. We could switch to a plan that would save us money and let us go to a specialist of our choosing without a referral from our gatekeeper; we choose not to.

Dutchess_III's avatar

In the early 90s to about 95 my income qualified me for state insurance. It was the best insurance I have ever had. 100% paid everything.
Don’t know what changed but suddenly I didn’t qualify. Guess they did away with it.
The kids still got insurance tho, than goodness.

gondwanalon's avatar

FYI: Money is power. Lots of money is lots of power. Get use to it.

ragingloli's avatar

The guillotine cares not for your money.
Off with their heads!

ragingloli's avatar

Even Geralt of Rivia, seasoned monster hunter and expert sword fighter, got unceremoniously killed by a farmboy with a pitchfork.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli That’s the first Geralt reference I’ve seen here. Kudos. You always surprise me!

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy I don’t trust everything the CDC says. I once had a MRSA infection and I tried to tell the CDC how I acquired it and they ignored me and told ME how I got it, which was absolute BS.

raum's avatar

@crazyguy That’s not a “little poem”. It’s the first stanza to a longer poem.

janbb's avatar

^^ I was tempted to point that out too.

snowberry's avatar

@kritiper Yep, that was my experience with the CDC too. You can’t trust that sort of “expertise!”

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