Interior Health is providing COVID-19 vaccines to adults in small communities in the West Boundary. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)

Interior Health is providing COVID-19 vaccines to adults in small communities in the West Boundary. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)

TAYLOR: Who gets protection last?

Life and Faith columnists examines the order COVID-19 vaccinations are distributed

I got my COVID-19 vaccination a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that my age puts me near the head of the line.

But then Jack Knox, a Victoria columnist, asked who should be at the end of the line?

Because somebody has to be last. Don’t they?

Most of us would agree about those who should get preference.

The residents of long-term care facilities, whose health is fragile already.

The frontline medical workers, who spend all day, every day, in close contact with the infected people the rest of us want to avoid.

The essential workers, the ones who keep supplying groceries, hardware, and emergency services.

Even if only one in every hundred people they encounter is a COVID carrier, that’s still way more than the rest of us.

Teachers and child care workers, who deal daily with little germ factories.

B.C. has apparently published a list of those whose employment entitles them to priority for vaccination. I haven’t seen it. I’m sure there’s a good reason for each group.

But who’s not on the list?

The question implies a deserving factor.

Which is rooted, I would argue, in a belief that the universe is supposed to be fair. Those who are good get rewarded; those who aren’t, get punished.

Knox suggested his own nominees for late vaccination – or never. It included telemarketers, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, etc.

Knox added a final category: “Me.”

“As much as it hurts to say so, I see no reason why I should roll up my sleeve before anyone else. As many readers have pointed out, I am relatively useless.”

His criticism applies to all writers. As an unpaid columnist, I make no contribution of any kind to Canada’s economic recovery

I live alone. The range of people I could spread the coronavirus to could be counted on my ears, and still have one leftover.

I have far less reason to go to the head of the line than millions of others.

The virus does not select those who deserve it. Almost the opposite.

Years ago, someone submitted a hilarious manuscript for me to consider. The title had something to do with mouldy muffins.

Her principle was simple. When you’ve got just enough muffins for your family, who gets the muffin with a mouldy spot? Mom does. Because she cares about her husband and children, she gives them the good muffins. She sacrifices herself for their sake.

That, it seems to me, is the core principle of love.

It has nothing to do with deserving anything.

Life doesn’t work that way.

Particularly in this Easter week, notions of anyone deserving anything should be trashed like the foil wrap on chocolate bunnies.

Jesus didn’t deserve what he got on Good Friday. Indeed, according to Christian doctrine, he was the least deserving person ever executed as a criminal.

The victims of COVID-19 were not worse people than those who escaped.

The right measure is not who deserved what, but who was willing to take risks for someone else’s sake.

A child doesn’t deserve to have his mom make sacrifices for him. He doesn’t even realize she’s making sacrifices. But she makes them anyway.

That’s the essence of love.

Jim Taylor lives in Lake Country.

rewrite@shaw.ca