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The Privilege of Getting My COVID Vaccine Early

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Lately, there is lots of talk of privilege — white privilege, able-bodied privilege, class privilege, gender privilege. The list could go on and on. But, I think right now we also have to talk about the privilege those have who are on the early end of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

I am one of those people getting the vaccine this week, the first week of February. Getting the vaccine means so much to me as I will be able to soon return to in-person therapy and will be able to resume doing my own grocery shopping. Getting the vaccine means I will be able to begin volunteering as well. These are small steps on my way to independence as I claw my way out of the jaws of my depression.

I feel privilege that, although disabled, I am able to serve my community at a vaccine clinic, where I have been offered the opportunity to get my shot since I am now considered an “essential volunteer.” We need staff to be healthy enough to run the COVID vaccine clinics that allow the general public to get their shots.

I understand that so many people do not have the privilege to put themselves in a position where they can volunteer or work somewhere that will allow them access to a vaccine sooner and therefore must continue to live in the shadows of COVID.

Let’s be clear, I did not take up this volunteer position to get my COVID vaccine sooner. I took this position because I have been looking for a volunteer opportunity for the last year that would accommodate my disabilities and give me the chance to be successful.

Although I have cerebral palsy, depression and an eating disorder, I do not have any known medical conditions that would significantly impact my immune system.

I am working to not feel guilty getting my vaccine sooner than I otherwise would. Without volunteering, I don’t think I’d get my shot until close to the end of the vaccination campaign as a “healthy” 27-year-old.

I am aware that I am getting my vaccine ahead of teachers and immunocompromised people. I am getting my vaccine before many over the age of 65. I am getting my vaccine before people working out in the community and barely scraping by that are considered essential and nonessential when I have been able to sustain my life virtually for the last year.

But, in the end, I will still get my vaccine. I will get my vaccine to protect my family and community. I do not want to risk getting ill and passing it on to my immunocompromised mother or my nieces and nephews who are far too young to get vaccinated.

I will get my vaccine to be able to continue to serve my community and help get the greater public vaccinated. It will be a lengthy process, but we will get there if everyone is patient in the process.

I am grateful that the opportunity presented itself that would allow me to both serve my community and get my COVID vaccine early. I will not waste this opportunity to both be able to make a difference in my community and try to move forward in my personal life.

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

Originally published: February 2, 2021
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