…also: “Whom do you vaccinate first?” [takes off Grammar Nazi armband]
That irritant aside, the question is a good one and is especially troubling in a case such as now, when the quantities are likely to be quite limited at first — especially when viewed against the global population of some six billion.
I’m going to be completely on the side of civilization here and say that whichever country developed the vaccine should have first call on the stuff (the dreaded “nationalist” worldview, fuck off, snowflakes). The fact that Brits, Americans or Europeans (i.e. Western civilizations) would end up being likely ahead of the hapless denizens of sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia… c’est la vie. So that’s easy: Western civilization (as the creators) benefits its members first, the rest later.
Let’s look at the situation within two countries who might develop the vaccine (needless to say, at huge cost in terms of research).
Ordinarily, vaccinations start either with children or with the most in need of vaccination — i.e. the populations at greatest risk from whatever pox is being vaccinated against.
Doesn’t work today, though. In the first place, kids are the ones least at risk from Teh Chinkvirus, so there’s no need to start with them.
Of course, the population group most vulnerable to death from the Chinese Pox is that of the elderly; but in today’s culture, where we Olde Pharttes are but a step or two away from being shoved onto ice floes by politicians and State institutions (cue: granny-killer NYGov Cuomo and Britain’s NHS), there would be fainting fits all over the place at the thought of “wasting” the vaccine on people who don’t have long to live anyway. So those two groups are, arguendo, excluded. Which leaves the rest.
Then the “meritocracy” argument begins. In Britishland, it’s easier at least for the first half-dozen or so available doses: the Queen, and those members of the Royal Family closest to the line of succession. [cue the Socialists’ and republicans’ grumbling]
Over Here… well, that’s a little problematic, isn’t it? The thought that a President (any President) should get the first shot is justifiably abhorrent to us egalitarians, ditto any members of government — and of Congress, we will not speak. (“Fuckem” would be the most common sentiment, I suspect, and rightly so.)
Then we come to the closest group we have to British nobility: Teh Rich. Uh huh. In twenty words or less, explain to me why Bill Gates, some Saudi “prince” or that asshole who runs Google are any more deserving than the guy behind the counter at your local 7-11. [hands out popcorn]
And the same is true for anyone else whom society may deem “special” and worthy of being at the head of the line. The thought of Kim Kardashian being more worthy of the vaccine than, say, my Son&Heir… [hands out more popcorn]
The simple truth is that nobody “deserves” to get the vaccination ahead of anyone else: not in the U.S.A., anyway. So what’s the solution?
Actually, the answer is really simple: hand the job over to Social Security.
Social Security numbers are arguably the closest thing we have to a national ID (I know, I know), and it would be the work of a few hours to create a lottery system which would rank the universe of SocSec numbers into some random order which would leave the delivery of vaccinations to pure chance. Unfortunately, this would exclude all those in this country who are here illegally and thus don’t have a Social Security number, but I see that as a feature, not a bug.
When it comes to survival, life in Earth is pretty much a crapshoot anyway, so why should this situation be any different?