March 28, 2021

Forgive the Christians Who Jumped the Line to Get Their Vaccines

waiting in line

I received the first of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine I was offered as soon as I was eligible to do so. We will be into April before I can get the second shot, which means I will not be fully vaccinated until the end of April. I should be more comfortable doing at least some of the things I am not doing now by the time May arrives. It hadn't occurred to me to keep getting vaccinated secret, but it is easy to understand why some are doing so. The way vaccine eligibility has worked around here, announcing that one was getting vaccinated early in the process meant one was disclosing a health condition that would have made one eligible or that one was jumping the line.

The line-jumping has been interesting to observe. I know three people, all of them Christians, who did this, lying about their occupations in order to get vaccinated much earlier than was warranted. When I learned about the first person I know who did this, I was not surprised. "Hostile" is one of the first words I would choose when describing this person, and I'd summarize their worldview as "I gotta get mine so screw everybody else." If anyone was going to jump the line and put themselves ahead of more deserving others, it would be this person.

The second person I know who did this was directly influenced by the first; however, the motive seemed different. This person is one of the most extroverted people I've ever encountered was struggling without constantly being surrounded by people. I think they reached the point where jumping the line was perceived as necessary to maintain some shred of sanity. I did not approve of what either of them did, especially because they jumped the line well ahead of healthcare providers, older adults, and first responders. Moreover, the justification they presented came down to the fact that they had figured out a way to game the system and thus deserved to do so because it benefitted them. Even worse, both of them went out of their way to advise others to do the same.

The third case was different for a few reasons. This person jumped the line much later in the process and for reasons that had little in common with the first two. As a caretaker for older adults and someone with a large family desperate to see them, this person was under tremendous pressure to get the vaccine sooner than later. Worried about aging relatives, getting vaccinated seemed like a pathway to protect their safety and gain access to them sooner. Not being able to see family members who might not be around much longer was clearly a motivating factor. Still, this person was conflicted about line-jumping and struggled with the decision for some time. It was only disclosed to a select few, and it was clear that it was not an easy thing. Had I been in a similar situation, I think I probably would have done the same thing.

This atheist did not jump the line. This came down to two things for me. First, doing so did not strike me as fair given that there was a vaccine shortage and many more people who needed to be vaccinated more urgently than I did. Second, the social distancing hasn't bothered me much, meaning that I haven't been in any real hurry for things to return to normal. Thus, I didn't have a compelling reason to try to get vaccinated sooner than I was eligible to do so. I was fine with waiting for my turn, and it arrived more than a month before I thought it would.

Even though I didn't approve of their actions, I am happy to forgive the line-jumpers. I recognize that forgiveness isn't about them but something I can do for myself. It is in the past, and those who want vaccines should be able to get them soon if they haven't already. This seems like one bit of anger I can do without.