A boomer bemoans the vaccine lottery

The newest challenge for baby boomers now is getting vaccinated. In most states, older boomers are in the front of the line, but as Laura Landau wrote for her writer’s workshop from Wappingers Falls, New York, it’s still a lottery, and it still takes its toll.

Two friends were talking on the phone, mostly about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Barbara was saying, “The only place my daughter could get us an appointment is Binghamton, New York. We don’t want to drive four hours each way to get it.” Maria said she wasn’t worried, eventually it would become available.

Then Barbara continued, “I’m equating it to the presidential election. Every time Mike and I tried to vote early, the lines were around the block. After trying three times to vote early, we decided to wait for Election Day and that strategy paid off, there was no wait then.”

Getting back to the vaccines, Maria agreed. She’d had the exact same experience with voting. She was safe at home and could wait. Leave it for people who really needed the vaccine.

Four days later, an alert rang on Maria’s phone. The coveted vaccine appointment was available. She was in the car with her husband driving. The woman who all along felt that she could wait for the vaccine, and didn’t even know if she wanted to risk what seemed like an unproven vaccine, was quickly filling out her information. She assumed she could fill out her information, then her husbands, then her mom’s.

Absolute elation. She got an appointment.

Then….total devastation. No more appointments left. In just six short minutes. Maria kept clicking the link with the same results. No more appointments left. That couldn’t be!

Laura Landau with her husband.

Devastated, what had she done? Her husband, her mother. She had been so selfish, she should have filled out their information first.

Her sister screamed at her, “What about Mom? What did you do?” Maria kept saying, “I thought there would be more time, more appointments.” Her sister yelled, “I was driving, or I would have gotten Mom an appointment.” Maria yelled back, “Once in my life I did something without thinking of someone else first.” She still couldn’t help thinking, what had she done? Everyone in the family was in tears.

Maria’s husband was so considerate though, the man won had gone to work all during the pandemic without complaint. It had showed in his face that he was happy for her, he was so thrilled that his wife was going to be safe. He told her so. His joy for her sake made her feel so much worse.

A week later, her first vaccine dose made Maria feel like she was betraying them. At what cost safety?


  1. I turned 65 in December. I am too young to get the vaccine yet. My friends who are 75 and older have tried to get it. Some have succeeded. I am happy to know that you got it . I hope with President Biden at the helm more vaccines will be available soon. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Well said, Laura. This crazy path the virus has thrown us onto has no roadmap. We all have to do the best we can to keep ourselves safe. Remember the airline’s iconic caution to put your own mask on first and then help others.

  3. Well written Laura, this world we are living in is so very stressful. It’s ok to put yourself first sometimes! Think of it this way, if someone gets sick you can possible be their caretaker and be safe (hopefully).

  4. Well done, Laura! The stress of it all is clear in your story. One thing is for sure: Those of us who get protected first can be valued helpers to those who have to wait.

  5. We all have been waiting patiently for weeks in the front lines with no shots available in sight. Remaining patient but not liking being vulnerable to catching covid. Hazardous working conditions and the threat is real. Let’s hope vaccines are on their way soon!!

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