Priorities important for vaccine

Once a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, demand for it will be enormous. Plainly, there will not be enough to go around, probably for several months. Thoughtful plans will be needed to set priorities for the limited amounts of vaccine that will be available at first.

Federal officials have sought and are beginning to receive state governments’ plans for that. Such an approach is wise; state officials know better than anyone in Washington how to set priorities for vaccinations.

Plainly, health care professionals should be first in line. That category needs to include employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, by the way. It also should include ambulance personnel.

Other first responders, including police and firefighters, often are first on the scene when medical emergencies occur. They, too, should have priority.

There should be no argument about the next class of people to whom vaccines should be rushed: Nursing home residents. They live in COVID-19’s preferred hunting ground and have been victims of the virus by the tens of thousands.

Up to that point there seems to be wide agreement on priorities for vaccine. But what, or rather who, comes next?

We suggest school employees. Millions of American children remain out of school because their parents are afraid to send them. Across the country, many schools that have reopened have remained so only sporadically, as outbreaks strike their students and staffs.

Getting school employees vaccinated would be a major step in restoring a semblance of normalcy to the process of educating our children. Making that happen is critical.

By Patricia Older