By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
A number of people are aware of the controversy about an health clinic in Williamsburg that started giving out COVID-19 vaccines to people other than the front-line health care workers. Indeed, such prominent Poskim as Rabbi Herschel Schachter and Rabbi Mordechai Willig received vaccinations from that organization as well. Rabbi Schachter even issued a statement that had he known that the origin of the vaccine was under question he would not have taken the vaccine.
What follows is an observation that has nothing to do with the details of this case, per se. It is an observation that the policy that has been adopted by the CDC as to who should be vaccinated first – is, in this author’s opinion, morally and halachically bankrupt. If one carefully examines the mission statement of the CDC – one will see that the raison d’etre of the CDC is to maximize the saving of life. Lehavdil, the parameters of halacha are also to maximize the saving of life.
On December 3rd, the CDC made recommendations to the three governments throughout the nation – the federal government, the state governments and the local governments about who should be vaccinated first (Phase 1A recipients). These recommendations were based on those made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.
The three thoughts this author would like to share are as follows:
- The recommendations are wrong.
- They will kill many thousands, if not tens of thousands of people if not more.
- There is still time to change them.
The criterion as to who should be vaccinated first should be made solely with one factor in mind – to maximize the saving of life. This means if option A will save 800,000 lives and the option that the CDC has chosen will save 300,000 lives then the policy is responsible for the death of a half a million people. Those most at risk for dying should receive the vaccine first – this should be the only criterion.
The CDC stated that their recommendations were made with these goals in mind:
- Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
- Preserve functioning of society.
- Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.
The problem is that goal #2, and goal #3 undermine goal number one. The scandal that has happened in Brooklyn should be a call to the real scandal that is happening. It should be a clarion call to all doctors, presidents, clergymen and everyone that values life to change the criterion.
Currently, healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities are offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (Phase 1a). Healthcare personnel are less at-risk for dying of COVID-19. This decision will cause many thousands of deaths. True, the healthcare workers are heroes and they will be discussed later in this article. But, once again, those most at risk for dying should receive the vaccine first. That is it.
On December 22nd, the CDC made recommendations as two who should be included in Phases 1b and 1c.
1b will include frontline essential workers such as:
- fire fighters
- police officers
- corrections officers
- food and agricultural workers
- United States Postal Service workers
- manufacturing workers
- grocery store workers
- public transit workers
- those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)
Really? What madness has entered the minds of the people making such decisions? The emperor has no clothes. Who are they to place value on one life versus the other? Trauma centers are designed to triage. Who made this decisions and why is this not the scandal of the century? Has the entire world gone stark raving mad??
Where is the media? Where are the doctors?
Yes, true, in the1b phase, the CDC recommendations include people aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 75 years and older who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
In Phase 1c, the CDC includes people aged 65—74 years “because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.”
In 1c, the CDC includes people aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
Again, a grave error that will cause tens of thousands of deaths if not more. This group should have been included in 1a.
Who else is in 1C? They are other essential workers, such as
- people who work in transportation and logistics,
- food service,
- housing construction and finance,
- information technology,
- public safety
- public health.
This is sheer madness, and actually a murderous, illegal, immoral policy. We have thrown out all the logic of triaging and have adopted politically correct notions in who shall live or who shall die. If ever there was a time for President Trump to step in and stop this murderous rampage he should do so now. It will be his greatest legacy.
The argument has been made that healthcare workers should receive it first because otherwise no one will be there to help those who are sick. This is actually, not true. Our healthcare workers are true heroes. As someone who witnessed them firsthand in the hospital, I questioned then and most did not have it. They are the real heroes of COVID-19 and would do it anyway. We are under-estimating the nature and character of our nurses and healthcare workers. And by doing so, we have adopted a policy that will kill untold tens of thousands.
The CDC must not forget the words of the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Let’s go back to that first of the three – Life. Life comes before all. The CDC in this murderous, politically correct policy is depriving Americans of their inalienable rights – the right to live. This policy must be changed. We are murdering our fellow Americans.
It is this author’s view that it is our moral duty to point out this moral and ethical failure of the CDC and get it changed as soon as possible. Doctors, clergymen, public policy politicians – where are you?