I bet Biden thought this one was a gimme…

Joe gets blowback re: moving teachers to the front of the line.

Immediately after Biden announced that there would be vaccine available for all adults by the end of May … and that all teachers, school staffs and child care workers would get at least 1 vax shot by the end of May, we observed:

1. Achieving the “available supply” is not  exactly a moon-shot. It simply requires continuing to deliver vaccines (to & from the government) at current run rates, adding in the new incremental J&J supply.

If the goal had been set at getting all 250 million adults 18 and over fully vaccinated by the end of May — that would have been a moon shot

For details, see VAX: What exactly did Biden promise?

2. Getting at least 1-shot into all teachers arms by the end of this month isn’t possible without compromising some “science” and medical ethics.

You see, stores in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program already scheduled out their anticipated vaccine supply for March.

So, letting teachers cut the line would require cancelling appointments already on the books for “vulnerables” and other “essentials”.

For details, see VAX: Did Biden’s brain trust set him up to fail?


While we were first, it didn’t take long for the piling-on to start … from science & data advocates, ethicists, “equitarians”, “zeroists” and politicos.


> Science & data advocates say:

All of the data thus far shows less risk in properly prepared classrooms than in the general public.

Classroom personnel face lower risks than most in this particular pandemic.

Specific targeting to lower-risk populations as a priority makes no sense at all, epidemiologically speaking. Source


Bioethics experts like Daniel Sulmasy, director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, added some philosophical legitimacy to my argument:

By far, the fairest, most principled, most transparent way of allocating the vaccines would be to first try to protect those who are most likely to get very sick or die.

We’re jumping, way, way ahead of that if a teacher who’s 28 years old and healthy is getting a vaccine ahead of a 64 year old with diabetes and asthma.


> Equitarians  place the highest priority on “equity” in the distribution of the vaccines.

Representative of that group, Céline Gounder, an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist who advised the Biden transition team on COVID-19, tweeted that the move “doesn’t make any sense.” She argues:

Older, at-risk teachers should already be getting vaccinated under current priority groups.

Pharmacies are not getting any additional allocations.

Without extra supply, pharmacies would have to “take vaccine away from higher-risk persons & communities of color to vaccine young healthy teachers.

Gounder concludes: This is an ANTI-EQUITY move.

Uh-oh, Joe.


>  “Zeroists” think that schools shouldn’t be re-opened until all teachers are vaccinated (i.e. none are left unvaccinated).

But, data aficionados point out a basic problem:

Some vaccination sites don’t check IDs, very few check employment information.

Even if the vax sites did collect the data, some states and many districts, citing privacy concerns, have pre-announced that they’ll refuse to release the data if it does get collected.

So, no one knows how many teachers will have gotten shots or how many will simply refuse to get vaccinated.

Of course, the zeroists will be able to zero in (<= pun intended) on isolated cases of individual teachers  who are denied shots for one reason or another.

So, how to know if the mission is accomplished?

Unions will be in a position to keep arguing “not yet, Joe.”


> Finally, politicos point out the obvious: Biden’s move has nothing to do with science, data, ethics or equity.

It’s all about the political clout of the teacher unions.

So the politicos ask: What if unionized grocery store workers go on strike unless they get moved to the front of the line, too?

They’re at higher Covid risk than teachers … and at least as “essential”.


Even this one isn’t a gimmee, Joe.

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