Mes amis, I’m worried. I’ve been worried all year, of course, but a hopeful start to 2021 hasn’t made me forget about everything that happened in 2020. The entire world is faced with the gargantuan task of rolling out a vaccine that was conceived, prototyped, and trialed — all within 12 months. And it’s becoming clear that not all of us were truly created equal. And that’s fine, because right now we need equity, not equality.
In the United States, the oldest in society receive the vaccine first. That’s not the case everywhere in the world. In my home country of France, for example, the government has stated that there is little scientific evidence to show the effectiveness of the vaccine in the older population.
President Emmanuel Macron said, “For this AstraZeneca vaccine, we will not propose it to those older than 65.”
That was a scary moment, since the older you are the more vulnerable to COVID-19 you become. But Macron claims that the vaccine will become widely available to the public by the end of summer. That’s a long wait.
For those of us here in the U.S., things don’t look much different — except that the older populations and those living in nursing homes will receive the vaccine first. And that makes sense. That’s the equitable solution. They need it. We don’t.
Probably the biggest obstacle is convincing our essential workers that they should actually get the vaccine. As of now, the injections are voluntary. The Los Angeles Fire Department has access to enough vaccines for all its staff, but barely more than half have opted to receive it. The fire department is on our front lines — more so than people realize. It doesn’t make sense that they decide not to get the vaccine.
Until we can find a way to show people that the science works, this pandemic will probably continue longer than it should. And that’s what really scares me.