If You're A Person Scamming To Get A COVID Vaccine, I'm Here To Tell You You're A Monster

Photo: hedgehog94 / Shutterstock
If You're A Person Scamming To Get A COVID Vaccine, I'm Here to Tell You You're A Monster

This past weekend a friend of mine sent me a message furious about her parents’ appointments to be vaccinated being canceled. Although her dad received a last-minute email about the cancellation — and had already headed to the hospital, only to turn back — her mother never even got a notification.

Her parents, both in their 70s, were told that they would have to find new appointments at a pharmacy. My friend and her family live in New York City, a city of 8.4 million people, most of whom are vying to get the vaccine, so locating a pharmacy that has enough doses is going to be a feat.

My friend, like myself, were enraged. What pissed us off, even more, is the onslaught of completely healthy people — who are not frontline workers and don't have underlying medical conditions — in our Instagram feed posting photos of their vaccination cards. Some have received their first dose, while others have already received both doses. As for my friend’s parents and my parents? They’re still waiting.

My parents aren’t scheduled to get their first vaccine until March 10, but as I learned from my friend’s experience, that appointment isn’t necessarily set in stone.

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My mother is 70 with an underlying health condition. While she’s been to multiple experts, pre-pandemic, and undergone a whole slew of tests, not a single doctor has been able to diagnosis her. A few years ago she came down with a horrible cold, that turned into pneumonia, and since then her breathing has never been the same.

She actively did everything she could to put her health first, hoping to remedy the problem on her own, but no amount of weight loss, healthy eating, exercise, or reduced stress has worked. She still struggles to breathe, it’s getting worse, and doctors don’t have an answer. Even if my mom weren’t 70, she’d be a prime candidate for the vaccine, because if she came down with Covid she likely wouldn’t survive.

My mother’s story isn’t unique. There are millions of people across the country, of all ages, who suffer from underlying issues who should be prioritized when it comes to these vaccinations, but the system is failing them. Which, frankly, is no surprise.

If there was anything we learned about the health care system in this country during the pandemic it’s that it’s fundamentally broken. We always knew, especially compared to other developed nations, that our health care system is lacking, but the pandemic exposed just how broken it is, how much it needs a full-on makeover, as well as all the cracks in it that leaders have zero interest in fixing. For one of the richest countries in the world, we certainly suck when it comes to caring for our people.

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So what’s happening in this broken system? People are getting vaccinated who should have to wait to be vaccinated. I have one friend, who’s 36 and healthy, who managed to get a vaccine because she’s a teacher. But fun fact: she’s not really a teacher. She tutors twice a week and it's all online.

Then there was the 20-something acquaintance, whom I met once and follow on Instagram, who claimed to be a Soul Cycle instructor so he could get a vaccine. Another fun fact: He’s never even been to Soul Cycle once in his life, let alone instructed a class.

Then there’s the friend who, just today, posted on Instagram a photo of herself getting her first shot. Again, a healthy young woman who, in this case, managed to get the vaccine because she’s been depressed since the pandemic. I don’t know if that’s actually what she told her doctor or what kind of doctor would sign off on such a thing but, honey, I’ve been clinically depressed since I was a child. I have scars from a 2005 suicide attempt, but you don’t see me trying to cut in line in front of Grandma and Grandpa.

I know, ultimately, everyone who wants a vaccine will get one. But what I find extremely disheartening is watching healthy people in my age group (and younger!) get a vaccine before unhealthy people in any age group and before the elderly. In fact, it’s not just disheartening, but disgusting. I want to pull these people aside, the ones waving around their vaccination cards on social media, and ask, “Have you no sense of decency?”

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While I imagine most of these people will defend themselves and say they do have decency and that they are decent people, I predict they’d fumble as they try to come up with a valid excuse for their behavior — a behavior that's steeped purely in entitlement. At the end of the day, isn't this what it's all about? Who's entitled and who isn't?

I can’t wait to get my vaccine. I’m excited to have this chapter of our lives over and to be able to move forward into the “new normal” — whatever that may be. I get goosebumps just at the thought of being able to hug my friends, travel, and enjoy a meal at a restaurant without having to worry about putting the waitstaff or myself at risk.

I’m over this pandemic just as much as everyone else, but I have decency. And it’s that decency that’s keeping me from jumping to the front of the line, spouting off some lie, or whatever else people are doing to get their vaccination before the vulnerable people who truly need it. 

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So for those of you scamming and lying your way into getting the vaccination, think twice before posting about your experience on social media. There are those of us who have loved ones who actually need that vaccine far more than you do. You waving your vaccination card in a Boomerang just makes you look selfish.

Amanda Chatel is a writer who divides her time between NYC and Paris. She's a regular contributor to Bustle and Glamour, with bylines at Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post and others. Follow her on Twitter or on Facebook for more.