Oklahoma's COVID vaccination program, perhaps surprisingly, is coming along more smoothly than that of most neighboring states. Despite claims to the contrary, the credit should go to county health departments.
Politicians like to take credit for achievements they haven't made, and that's the case with the vaccine rollout. It's important to remember that these Oklahoma officials are the same people who got duped into spending $2 million on the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, just because former President Donald Trump touted its effectiveness against COVID-19. That was a gross mischaracterization, and now Gov. Kevin Stitt and others who believed the fib know they "got took," and they're trying to get their money back. Oops, correction: That's our money they spent.
Meanwhile, county health departments – which have been decimated by inept majority regimes at the statehouse – continue to trundle along and do what they do best. Hospitals have played an effective role in administering vaccinations, and so have tribal governments and their health care systems. That's especially true for the Cherokee Nation. Although people who are lower on the priority list still haven't been inoculated, and are predictably griping about it, the Cherokees will certainly take care of their citizens with a speed not possible for "mainstream" government.
But for some folks, the vaccinations won't come quickly enough. These are the people who are complaining on social media and trying to shove others aside who, by virtue of their age, health conditions or job descriptions, need the protection more. The vaccination programs offer yet another peek at the American psyche, and what is on display doesn't look so good. It's a combination of entitlement, hostility, selfishness, and boastfulness – traits that, until recently, most people tried to mask.
One disturbing trend involves people who were just a few months ago claiming COVID-19 was a hoax, created by some miscreant tycoon to help the "Deep State" take over the country. These folks repeatedly insisted COVID was no worse than the flu, and they refuse to wear masks in public. Yet somehow – usually because they are over 65, but sometimes because they are disabled – they've managed to advance to the front of the inoculation line. And conspiracy theories notwithstanding, they're grabbing the serum quicker than the rest of us can shout "Anthony Fauci."
It would be unseemly for people of goodwill to claim hoaxers shouldn't be entitled to vaccinations, or at least pushed to the back of the line while others who may be more deserving – or more accepting of science – get shots. However, it's not to much to ask that hoaxers stop bragging to their friends and neighbors who grow increasingly desperate for the protective doses.
One very vocal individual in this area, who had been condemning the science behind COVID-19 and calling the vaccine "snake oil," boasted on Facebook about having begun the series of shots – "if for no other reason than I can keep a socialist from getting one!" It's a shame a type of "decency triage" can't be employed, but since it can't, the old technique of shunning might marginalize such people. Decent society should dump these hate-and-hypocrisy sandwiches into the nearest garbage disposal, and metaphorically set them to grind.