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Our View: For most, for now, the answer to your COVID questions is, ‘wait your turn’ | COMMENTARY

As County Commissioner Ed Rothstein and County Health Officer Ed Singer answered COVID-19 questions for more than 90 minutes during a virtual town hall Tuesday, one thing became abundantly clear. No one can understand why they haven’t already been vaccinated. Regardless of age, with or without pre-existing conditions, everyone thinks they have been wronged by being forced to wait.

It’s understandable. Telling people to wait their turn for a trip to the buffet or for a Black Friday sale is one thing. Telling them to wait their turn to get a dose of vaccine that could save their life or end a too-long stint of being a prisoner in their own home is a much harder sell. Frustration and anger coming through loud and clear in the questions was inevitable. Prioritizing some people over others based on the job they do or how old they are was bound to cause some resentment.

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But waiting your turn as the vaccine is administered to those ahead of you on the list is the only option for most right now. As Singer said, the priority list was created for a reason.

Is it fair that a 75-year-old had been fully immunized by the end of February while his 74-year-old neighbor may still be weeks away from a first dose? The answer to that probably depends on whether you are the vaccinated 75-year-old or the neighbor. But lines had to be drawn somewhere. The prioritizing was based on science but it will still feel arbitrary to many.

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Obviously, not everyone of the same age is in the same type of health. Singer recommended those with pre-existing conditions contact their physician and see if they qualify to move up the list.

While President Biden has said everyone who wants the vaccine will have it by the end of May, Singer said, realistically, it will probably take longer. That’s why Rothstein and Singer continue to say the focus must remain on the most vulnerable. As we get closer to being able to take a few cautious first steps past this pandemic, it would be tragic to have unnecessary hospitalizations or deaths among those who should have already been vaccinated.

We can all play a role. Singer noted that an acquaintance of his advocated to numerous members of a vulnerable population in a particular community resulting in some 20 people getting vaccinated. We can all advocate. Or make a call to the health department at 410-876-4848 on behalf of an elderly friend. Or provide transportation. And, if possible and relatively convenient, Carroll countians without transportation issues can make the drive to the LifeBridge clinic in Randallstown or the mass vaccination sites at Six Flags or M&T Bank Stadium, thereby keeping the available slots at Carroll County Health Department clinics open.

Should it be this difficult? Of course not. The state made a mistake by moving into Phase 1C before taking even a good chunk out of 1B and the uneven distribution to the counties — which was not done strictly by population and left Carroll 20th out of 24 Maryland jurisdictions in per capita allotment through February — is indefensible.

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Still, progress is being made. More than 33,000 Carroll residents have been vaccinated. For those who haven’t, we urge you to heed the advice of Rothstein and Singer. If you’re over 75, call the health department to make an appointment. If you’re 65-74, motivated and able, go outside of Carroll for your shot. If you have a pre-existing condition, consult your doctor. For everyone else, for now, as frustrating as it is, wait your turn. And wear a mask while you wait.

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