The right place in line

Pandemic

Folks who know me, know I’ve been concerned about finding the right place in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Because of my history, I have pretty good reason to suspect I have T-cell immunity,[11] which would mean I wouldn’t need the vaccine at all.

In that case and given a shortage of doses, others would surely benefit more from the vaccine and, by receiving it, would do more to limit the spread of the disease. Hence my ethical dilemma.

The downside, of course, is if I’m wrong. Then other risk factors come into play: mainly my weight and my age. And short of actually being tested for T-cell reactivity, the way I find out one way or another is if I am indeed wrong and I come down with a serious enough case to be diagnosed.

But most who hesitate do so for other reasons. I haven’t been hearing a lot of conspiracy theories lately, probably because I’ve posted signs for passengers in the back seat to see (figure 1):

Fig. 1. Sign posted for Uber passengers in the author’s car, by author, October 30, 2020.

Among other things, without even saying so, it’s pretty clear I’m not going to be sympathetic to Trumpster conspiracy theories. So I haven’t been hearing a lot of conspiracy theories lately, let alone about the COVID-19 vaccines.

But before I posted that sign (figure 1), I heard a number of my passengers say they distrust the vaccine. It was the usual conspiracy theorizing about every aspect of the pandemic that, at this point, I’m really sick of hearing. And apparently it reflects a widely held view around the county,[12] including among health care workers.[13]

As an Uber driver (Lyft has been stupid lately so I haven’t been driving for them), possibly covered as a “public transit worker,” I may well be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1b.[14] That should be coming up soon and I have to think a lot of people in this category will be at least as hesitant as health care workers. Which will mean the shortage of doses will be less acute and I might as well just go ahead and get it.

Christopher Dean Hopkins and Ashish Valentine, “Some Health Care Workers Are Hesitant About Getting COVID-19 Vaccines,” National Public Radio, January 1, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/01/952716705/some-health-care-workers-are-hesitant-about-getting-covid-19-vaccines


Donald Trump

In the last installment, a judge had thrown out[15] Louie Gohmert’s challenge to the Electoral Count Act, an attempt to allow Mike Pence to pick and choose which electoral college delegations to count.[16]

So guess what Gohmert is doing now? Threatening violence, but that seems to be par for the course with the man.[17] He’s also not alone:

(Actually, to the extent the order of succession applies, it would likely be Nancy Pelosi who would succeed Mike Pence as vice president to preside over the count. Some will recall Alexander Haig’s confusion on this point when he was secretary of state.[18])

At least a dozen U.S. senators plan to support Republican members of the House of Representatives in objecting to the count[19] that Gohmert sued over, which will drag out the process, but is not expected to alter the result.[20]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “At least 11 GOP senators will back Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley in voting to reject electors,” January 2, 2021, https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/nearly-a-dozen-gop-senators-announce-plans-to-join-josh-hawley-in-voting-against-counting/article_0ca10e21-fd10-5f51-83bf-b9d468534dbc.html

Elizabeth Thompson, “Texas congressman suggests street violence after judge rejects his legal effort to overturn election,” Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2021, https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/ct-louie-gohmert-violence-20210102-yozij4rzhffkhn3e4epyrrsa7m-story.html


  1. [11]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html
  2. [12]Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Facebook steps up campaign to ban false information about coronavirus vaccines,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/12/03/facebook-covid-vaccine/; Tom McCarthy, “US public increasingly skeptical of Covid-19 death toll, poll finds,” Guardian, July 21, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/21/us-coronavirus-death-toll-public-opinion-poll-accuracy; Mark Scott and Steven Overly, “‘Conspiracy bingo’: Trans-Atlantic extremists seize on the pandemic,” Politico, May 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/12/trans-atlantic-conspiracy-coronavirus-251325; Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html
  3. [13]Christopher Dean Hopkins and Ashish Valentine, “Some Health Care Workers Are Hesitant About Getting COVID-19 Vaccines,” National Public Radio, January 1, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/01/952716705/some-health-care-workers-are-hesitant-about-getting-covid-19-vaccines
  4. [14]Ryan W. Miller, “How will you know when it’s your turn for a COVID vaccine? It’s complicated,” South Bend Tribune, December 28, 2020, https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/how-will-you-know-when-its-your-turn-for-a-covid-vaccine-its-complicated/article_12040b2e-460f-11eb-ac18-df7117a159f5.html
  5. [15]Devlin Barrett, “Judge dismisses Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden electoral college count,” Washington Post, January 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gohmert-court-filing-claims-pence-is-not-a-glorified-envelope-opener/2021/01/01/eeb6b222-4c51-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
  6. [16]Kyle Cheney, “Gohmert suit may force Pence’s hand in effort to overturn Trump’s defeat,” Politico, December 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485
  7. [17]Elizabeth Thompson, “Texas congressman suggests street violence after judge rejects his legal effort to overturn election,” Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2021, https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/ct-louie-gohmert-violence-20210102-yozij4rzhffkhn3e4epyrrsa7m-story.html
  8. [18]Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Public Affairs, 1991).
  9. [19]St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “At least 11 GOP senators will back Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley in voting to reject electors,” January 2, 2021, https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/nearly-a-dozen-gop-senators-announce-plans-to-join-josh-hawley-in-voting-against-counting/article_0ca10e21-fd10-5f51-83bf-b9d468534dbc.html
  10. [20]Kyle Cheney, “Gohmert suit may force Pence’s hand in effort to overturn Trump’s defeat,” Politico, December 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485; Lauren Fox, Jeremy Herb, and Phil Mattingly, “Congressional GOP grapples with ‘unhinged’ Trump,” CNN, December 23, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/23/politics/congress-gop-trump-veto/index.html; Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, and Toluse Olorunnipa, “Republicans plunge into open battle over attempts to overturn Trump’s loss to Biden,” Washington Post, December 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-republicans-election-fight/2020/12/22/fa0c2744-446b-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html

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