The coronavirus vaccine wasn’t supposed to be a golden ticket. A tiered and efficient rollout was meant to inoculate frontline workers and the most vulnerable before the rest of society.
But scattershot and delayed distribution of the still-limited supply now threatens to create a new temporary social class — one that includes not just people who are at higher risk for infection or severe illness and death, but also grocery store customers in Washington; Indonesian influencers; elementary schoolteachers; American celebrities; New York Post reporters and others who, because of their work or because of luck, have been able to get immunized quickly.
Tests of the vaccines show they’re incredibly effective. But people can still get the coronavirus while in the process of getting inoculated and could possibly still spread the virus, especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.
As a result, as people clamor to get in line for what represents the only real safety from a disease that has killed millions, plenty of individuals who have been vaccinated will patiently wait until they are told it’s safe to gather.
But others will feel emboldened to begin to congregate with their vaccinated peers. Some of them will be among the most privileged people in the world.