The recent release of the COVID-19 vaccine has certainly led to a frenzy of people receiving the vaccine, signing up to receive the vaccine or figuring out if they are eligible for vaccination at this point in time. There is no doubt that there are people in this world who should have priority of receiving the vaccine over others. Whether it be essential workers, the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, people deserve to feel safe and protected against the virus. Of course, everyone deserves the relief that a vaccine will bring; however, right now it is important that we vaccinate those who are on the front lines or completely susceptible to catching this virus.
A new topic of conversation has been about whether athletes should have priority access to the vaccine over the general public. Some athletes feel this way because they think that they can influence more people to receive the vaccine than statistics or even experts on the topic can. This is certainly a debatable topic on which many people have varying opinions. With all of the available information out about the vaccine and those who have first priority, it is clear that athletes should not have priority over the general public. There are definitely certain circumstances in which an athlete should get priority over the general public, such as if they have a compromised immune system or some other medical condition in which the virus can be of greater harm to them than other people. However, after reading up on the issue and doing some research, professional athletes who play in the major leagues like the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, etc. absolutely should not have priority over the general public for the vaccine simply because they think they can influence people.
There are populations of people out there who are skeptical of the vaccine and fear receiving it because of the effects that it may have on them. However, eventually this vaccine will most likely become mandatory, at least in order to go to school or work in certain places. For this reason, professional athletes do not need preferential treatment on getting the vaccine.
There are plenty of other reasons for people to be motivated to get vaccinated if they weren’t thinking about it already. Like I said, the vaccine will most likely be required to be able to go to certain places soon enough, which should motivate the general public to get vaccinated as soon as they are able. People will also be looking to protect their family members who are elderly or sick by getting vaccinated. Research shows that athletes are fighting to become a part of the “essential workers” category, which is definitely an unjustifiable action.
Of course, sports are an escape and source of entertainment for many people. However, sports are not essential, especially during this pandemic. Back in March, the world went months without viewing live sporting events because of the risk that it was for athletes to play during this time. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals were never told to stop working. If anything, their work increased with the spread of COVID-19. They’ve worked everyday during this pandemic because they are essential.
Many sources have reported about athletes wanting to be pushed ahead for receiving the vaccine. National Basketball Association players are especially feeling this way, such as former NBA player Charles Barkley. He believes that they deserve preferential treatment for the vaccine because of the taxes that they pay. This is a ridiculous way of thinking because it suggests that people who pay higher taxes are of higher value than those who work on the front lines with COVID-19 patients everyday, or people who would suffer greatly if they contracted the virus because of their compromised immune systems. This is certainly not a reason for these athletes to be receiving preferential treatment.
In the end, people will be influenced to get the vaccine through all different sources or thought processes. Athletes getting priority access to the vaccine over the general public will not have a huge impact on influencing the public to receive their own vaccines. There are too many other, more pressing and persuasive, factors that will have more influence in the end.