The Liberal Race To Vaccinate
This past February, popular Soul Cycle master Stacey Griffith was criticized for receiving her COVID vaccination ahead of seniors and first responders. Griffith believed her role as an exercise instructor "made her eligible for the vaccine as an educator." While many in New York feigned outrage, this behavior is increasingly common among liberal elites in the Big Apple. As a conservative living in Westchester County, a wealthy Democratic enclave north of Manhattan, I witnessed many New Yorkers engaging in a similar fashion to that of Ms. Griffith. Oblivious to the fact that homebound seniors and those who live in minority neighborhoods were yet inoculated, these anxious suburbanites who once spent months fetishizing over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings and stringent lockdown measures were now obsessively trying to promote their eligibility for the vaccine. As a result of their rush to vaccinate, many coastal elites are contributing to the racial inequities they purport to be against.
In an effort to prioritize their arm for inoculation, some falsely exaggerated plans to “volunteer” their way to an appointment while others hired outside professionals to assist them in joining a physician spouse’s payroll. Unlike many progressives in my area who continue to work remotely while scooping up these coveted slots, residents in underprivileged communities often rely on public transportation to take them to various jobs, resulting in minimal online access. Incidentally, this relieved them of the opportunity to navigate the cumbersome appointment process.
Reluctant to the idea of their children not being first in line for any endeavor, some elites clamored for appointments for their teenage offspring who in three months will work as counselors at cushy summer camps. Yet with reopening plans still hazy, there remains an uncertainty if area overnight camps will even be able to operate under existing COVID restrictions. Given the fact that this virus affects this demographic the least, it is troubling that parents feel children should reap the rewards of science prior to those whose inoculation could mean a paycheck for food on their table.
Demographic data supports the theory that racial disparities surrounding vaccinations are more pronounced in liberal communities. White residents in Westchester County account for approximately 74% of the population yet represent almost 82% of those who have received their first dose of the vaccine. Comparatively, Staten Island has a large number of first-in-line vaccine-eligible residents with almost 40% of New York City’s firefighters and one-fifth of its police force hailing from what is known as the city’s "red borough." Yet racial vaccine variances remain tapered with white residents comprising just over 75% of Staten Island’s population and accounting for a mirrored 75% of all COVID vaccinations. And according to a recent study, New York State has the second-highest share in the nation of African American workers in the vaccine-eligible healthcare industry relative to the general population but ranks behind conservative states like Ohio and Texas in vaccinating minority residents.
For all their liberal pieties and sanctimonious lawn signs, many east coast liberals remain divorced from their own hypocritical reality. Apparently “Hate Has No Home Here” only applies if it does not interfere with the next worry-free flight to Miami or squander an opportunity for a fresh-faced picture on social media waving an “I got vaccinated” card. Many liberals who are wedded to divulging their medical milestones online are the same elites who were busy marketing their patriotism this past fall by emblazoning the word “Vote” on their first or second mask. This curious fashion choice was subsequently followed by an “I voted” Facebook post replete with a sticker and a family member in tow.
Yet for some highbrow New Yorkers, getting vaccinated is akin to snagging a sought-after Hermes’ Birkin bag. The timing may not be right, and its acquisition may require some thoughtful maneuvering but at least it is yours to brag about -- even if its usefulness is a rarity. For many on the left, getting inoculated is merely another penny lining their virtue signaling pockets. They continue to live their sterilized lives while donning a mask (or two!) and lecturing others on the dangers of variants and vaccine efficacy. To quote Senator Rand Paul “Isn’t it just theater?”
New York conservatives have grown accustomed to feeling isolated in what the late intellectual Irving Kristol dubbed the “one-party town.” Many liberals who felt entitled to early access to the vaccine now comfortably engage in vaccine shaming suggesting that conservatives who have yet to be inoculated are doing so because of their political leanings. As a conservative, I feel indebted to the doctors and scientists whose ingenuity and wisdom are helping bring our beautiful country back from this virus. I am also grateful to the Trump Administration whose removal of bureaucratic red tape helped develop the COVID vaccine in record time. And under New York State vaccine rules, I am now lawfully eligible to receive my shot and plan on getting vaccinated in the coming days. And who knows -- I may even post a picture to prove it.
Irit Tratt is a conservative freelance writer and pro-Israel advocate who resides in New York. Her pieces have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Algemeiner, and Israel Hayom.
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