The change to a purely age-based prioritization system for the coronavirus vaccine is a clear ethical mistake.

If Dr. Nirav Shah tells me that advanced age is the single best predictor that someone exposed to the coronavirus will become seriously ill, I believe him. But we cannot magically give vaccines only to those who will be exposed to the virus – and surely being exposed to the virus is an even better predictor than advanced age that someone will become seriously ill.

I am lucky: I can do my job from home, and I can afford to have others deliver my groceries. I should be last in line for the vaccine. Many Mainers are not as lucky. If our goal is to save the most lives, the people first in line for the vaccine should be those most at risk of severe disease. Clearly that should include not just the elderly but also those who cannot afford to shelter from the virus, including frontline workers of all kinds, such as restaurant and grocery store employees, and the homeless.

I urge Gov. Mills and Dr. Shah to recheck their math.

Andrew Shuttleworth

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