Eligibility for vaccines against COVID-19 in Colorado opened up to the general public April 2. An average person, provided they don’t have a prohibitive allergy or health condition, can walk in off the street (or, more likely, refresh the queue for their nearest vaccination site until an opening shows up) and take their shot at a shot. People 16 and up can get the Pfizer vaccine, while those 18 and up can get doses from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
I was able to get my first dose of the vaccine before eligibility opened up to the general public. Over the course of this article, I will not tell you why.
Each vaccine in circulation has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. This authorization is not a full approval, but it recognizes that until something comes along that is fully approved, these vaccines are the best option to achieve widespread herd immunity. All vaccines in use have been rigorously tested before distribution, and have been shown to be safe and effective. That herd immunity will protect those who can’t get the vaccine for various reasons. For as many reasons as there are to be exempt from the vaccine, there are just as many reasons someone may get one early.
I could have gotten my shot early because of one of many possible chronic conditions. I could secretly have been a senior with a severe case of baby-face. My journalism really could have been essential. I could have a public-facing job. I could have actually skipped the line, and not have deserved the shot I got.
Vaccine distribution in Colorado began with healthcare workers who had direct contact with COVID-19 patients. Lawmakers and emergency services also got priority. Now, everyone can get vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they “deserve” their shots. As the world begins to open up more and more, it might be beneficial to stop thinking of public health in terms of deserving.
I might have gotten my vaccine at the King Soopers close to campus. I might have driven more than an hour to my least favorite place. I might have gone to the Ranch, one of six mass vaccination sites in Colorado and the closest one to Greeley. I probably didn’t go to the Student Health Center in Cassidy Hall.
I may have skipped the line. I may have been in exactly the right order. I may have deserved to get my shot when I did. I may not have. Stop asking.