Sam Radford

March 29, 2021

A vaccine dilemma

I had a bit of a dilemma yesterday. A notice went around various WhatsApp groups saying a doctor’s surgery near me was looking to use up Covid vaccine stock. They would have to throw it away if it wasn’t used by the end of the day.

The surgery was hoping people in the vulnerable groups and the over fifties would snap them up. But they were accepting the over forties too.

My wife asked me if I wanted to grab an appointment. I ummed and ahhed for a while. I don’t want vaccine doses going to waste, but I don’t want to be taking them away from others who need them more either.

I had this tweet from Jason Hickel in the back of my mind too:

The fact that young, healthy people in Britain are being vaccinated before vulnerable people and frontline medics across the global South is unconscionable, particularly given that the British government is actively blocking IP waivers for poor countries. Coloniality dies hard.

There’s a lot of uncomfortable truth in that!

It’s impossible to deny that, around the world, there are far more people in need of the vaccine than me. And yet, though I didn’t take up the opportunity yesterday, I will officially be offered it within the next month or so.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

There’s no point me not having it when I’m invited. Britain – rightly or wrongly – has decided on the approach it has, and I’d be a fool to not take the vaccine. It’s not like me not taking it helps the nurse in Ghana in far greater need of it. But it does all leave me feeling uneasy.

And a reminder that life isn’t black and white – and how lucky I am to live where I live. (Not that I don’t find plenty to complain about!)

What would you have done? I'd love to hear from you – just hit reply or drop me a note. I read all your messages, and always try to respond.

–Sam