Dear Agony Aunt: Your Advice and Etiquette Questions Answered

The Ethics of Accepting the Coronavirus Vaccine

By Aunt Agatha on 16 February 2021
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For over a century, British and American magazines and newspapers have run advice and etiquette columns ranging from Miss Manners to Dear Abby to Savage Love. ,The questions in these columns range from “How can I get my annoying seatmate on this flight to shut up and let me watch my movie?” to “Where should I seat my ex-husband’s illegitimate gay son’s ex-lover at my daughter’s fourth wedding?”

Sherlock Holmes, as alert readers might know, regularly consulted the “agony columns” (the term used in Britain), and agony columns, of course, are written by agony aunts.  I, Aunt Agatha, am this publication’s agony aunt and will address readers’ issues of all types.  Simply send your troubles to auntagatha@dearagonyaunt.com and I will try to get to yours as soon as possible.

Dear Aunt Agatha,

I recently became eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination. My dilemma is this:  Should I make an appointment or should I wait so someone more deserving or in a higher risk category could get it?  The newspapers are full of stories about people who are eligible and cannot even get appointments, yet I see social-media posts where others complain that people they knew and whom they considered to be at a lower risk for the virus or “less” eligible, were able to get the jab.  Whatever should I do, dear Aunt Agatha?   

–Eligible in El Paso

Dear El,

While I understand your dilemma, there is really no question here that you should take the soonest appointment possible, no matter how unworthy you may feel. While you might imagine that your particular dose might go to someone far more worthy or more eligible, there is reason to believe that, should you forgo the jab, this particular shot will go to someone less worthy. Indeed, it’s quite possible it could end up in the arm of someone less worthy or less eligible. In the worst of cases, it could even get thrown into the rubbish bin.  Finally, it’s also possible you might be turning down the shot in the mistaken belief that you are not at a high risk for the coronavirus.  People generally underestimate risk and the belief that others need that dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna more than you, given how little science truly understands about the virus, may simply be wrong.

Love, Auntie

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