Ethics Observations On The VA’s Racial Discrimination Policy In Vaccine Priorities


This isn’t a “comspiracy theory.” This real.

From “Stars and Stripes”:

Black, Hispanic and Native American veterans will be given priority for receiving coronavirus vaccines once they become available, according to a document published Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Race and ethnicity, as well as veterans’ ages and existing health conditions, will be taken into consideration by the VA when determining who should be vaccinated first. According to VA data, Black, Hispanic and Native American veterans are disproportionately affected by the virus, reflecting trends across the broader population.

Ethics Observations:

1 If you want racial division in the nation, race-based hate and anger, and increased violence accompanied by a surge in white supremacy, this is how you guarantee that it is exactly what you will get.

2. Therefore, it is irresponsible and incompetent to have such a policy.

3. Are there valid arguments to support giving minority veterans first priority in receiving the vaccine? Sure. It doesn’t matter.

4. I assume this policy will be challenged by lawsuits. It should be.

5. This is Donald Trump’s Veterans Administration. Boy, he doesn’t even know how to be a competent racist!

6. Principled minority veterans ought to refuse any priority advantage and insist that they be treated like their fellow veterans, I’m certain some will. I wonder how many…

7. Law professor David Bernstein has written,

Given both experience and what we know about how politics actually operates,….confidence that the government can competently and innocently use medical research framed by arbitrary racial categories to serve social justice goals while not encouraging racialist and racist thinking among researchers seems wildly optimistic. Their support for the idea that we should allow the government to use research based on arbitrary, scientifically ridiculous OMB racial categories to allocate medical resources to people based on those categories seems both fantastical and an unjustified triumph of unscientific racialist thinking.


8. Imagine if, on the basis of legitimate research, the VA announced that white male veterans would have priority over others in receiving the Wuhan virus. Of course, such a policy would never even be considered, because it would be vociferously attacked as racist even though it was based on science and statistics.

18 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The VA’s Racial Discrimination Policy In Vaccine Priorities

  1. “1 If you want racial division in the nation, race-based hate and anger, and increased violence accompanied by a surge in white supremacy, this is how you guarantee that it is exactly what you will get.”

    Or an excuse to destroy white people.

  2. People who are genetically set up to survive in areas of the world where scarcity is common (South and Central Asia (from when Native Americans and indigenous Mexicans and Central Americans come), Africa, and the Middle East (from whence Hispanics come) are prone to diabetes when they are moved to an environment of plenty (and convenience stores and fast food outlets). If you are so pre-disposed, DO NOT pack on the carbs! Capice? If you blame white people for bringing you to a land of plenty, go back to a more scarce environment or close your pie hole and skip the Big Gulp and the Big Mac. For how many decades have people been casually ignoring the CDC’s guidelines on obesity and body mass indices? Now, it’s all about SCIENCE!

    Give me a break.

    • Europe is actually one of the worst areas for starvation and scarcity. It is thought, that is why people of European ancestry can metabolize lactose as adults and more effectively metabolize alcohol that other people. When you live in a frozen wasteland, you have to be able to use anything resembling food.

  3. I was writing a lengthy comment and decided to just forget it. My head is sore from banging against the wall.

    If the VA gives it to anyone other than the most vulnerable regardless of demographic then we can point out the BIPOC privilege.

  4. Are minorities, per se, more at risk, or are they just statistically in a higher risk group based on physical conditions (e.g., hypertension, obesity, smoking) more prevalent in their groups for various reasons? If so, wouldn’t prioritizing for those physical risks, regardless of ethnicity, better serve the goal of reaching the most vulnerable first?

    • What you have highlighted is the fact that the bean counters are counting beans the wrong way, and it seems to me that this is done for political reasons. Categorizing by race for vaccine priority does not place any blame on the individual; categorizing by some of the health criteria you mention would, and it would be more scientifically valid. I’ve seen a similar issue in education where, for example, disciplinary actions are categorized by race, with the results ‘proving’ systemic racism. What would it be if disciplinary actions were categorized (to choose one measure) by family situation (ignoring race entirely), such as children being raised by a single man or woman, by a couple living together, or by a married couple living together. Those results would not support a belief in systemic racism, but they might point out that some family situations are better than others for educating children.

      • I think you’ve both hit the nail on the head. There is a long list of health outcomes that are poorer in BIPOC communities versus majority populations, but it seems fairly intuitive to me that socioeconomic status and situation are far more relevant (and less polarising!).

  5. Just think. They could have spent months shouting to “follow the science” and get moving and eat a more nutritionally dense diet. Alas, that would require effort. If just 2% (6.6 million people) actually did out of fear… that would be good. 8 months is plenty of time to establish a new habit.

    • Right. Eating healthy is nutritional racism. Healthy eating habits are white supremacy and anti-black. People are being praised for “embracing” their obesity. Positive body image, you know. Who are white people to tell black people how to eat? Bunch of jive ass crackers, you know what I mean?

      • Haha. “What you look for you find.” If you have a presumption of racism I suppose you will always find something to confirm the biases. That’s exactly what’s happening too.

    • “Equity” is a real concern, although it can certainly abused.

      For people with cars and flexible work schedules, the vaccine distribution point could be reasonably set up anywhere within 20 miles.

      For instance, with COVID testing, Rentschler Field (an abandoned airport come parking lot for a football stadium) outside Hartford was used over the summer. People could take a 10-30 minute drive from half the state, and wait in their airconditioned car for a few hours in the summer while they waited for testing.

      Now consider people in Hartford, the majority of whom have one car or fewer per family, if Rentschler Field were the only testing site. How do Hartford get testing? They either:

      – Walk two hours over the river, and wait outdoors in the sun until they get tested.

      – Take a bus with other people who suspect they may have COVID; maybe wait in the semi-enclosed concourse of the stadium with instead of the direct sun.

      For a significant portion of the population within 3 miles, the testing site at Rentschler Field might as well not exist! That same population, due to socioeconomic circumstances, is also more likely to have health issues that make them more vulnerable to the virus.

      So, while there is nothing inherently wrong with a regional testing center at Rentschler Field, additional resources need to be allocated to testing in the city itself to achieve an equitable outcome for people who cannot get to a deliberately car-friendly testing site.

  6. Confirmation bias and confounding variables.

    Correlation does not equal causation. If more than one variable could be affecting a correlation, you have to test for each possible variable and see which variable has the strongest correlation. If you are so stuck on race that you cannot even envision there being any other variable in the equation, you are not a scientist, you are an activist. Activism is the death of science. No one should listen to you about anything.

    The race baiting going on in our country is lethal. At this point, literally.

    On the bright side, I don’t want to take their vaccine anyways. I’ve heard one too many stories from my parents about the 1976 swine flu vaccine to think taking rushed vaccines is a good idea. There are already cases of the vaccine causing anaphylaxis, Bell’s Palsy, and death. I’m prone to anaphylactic reactions from food and medication allergies, so no thanks. Sounds like they don’t want me to have it anyway, and I’m fine with that.

  7. If or when this backfires with severe reactions to the vaccine, they have set themselves up for the accusation that they targeted minorities with an unsafe vaccine as a test case so that white people would not be put at risk.


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