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EDITORIAL: Remember what we learned in kindergarten

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, we need to remember what we learned as kids
A senior citizen receives a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in a hockey arena in Montreal, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. More than half of the residents of First Nations communities in British Columbia have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but most Indigenous people who live outside of these areas are still waiting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

When I was in kindergarten, there was a sandbox by the door of our classroom.

I don’t remember much about it, other than some indistinct memories after seeing a few photos of me and my friends playing at the waist-height box filled with sand and a few shovels.

But I do remember that is was popular. Very popular.

Was there a system to make sure every kid got their turn to play with the sand? Were we asked to wait our turn?

We all wanted in, that I do remember. Some of us were lucky and got to play there first.

Gee, sounds an awful lot like the COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: B.C. emergency, grocery, school staff get COVID-19 vaccine starting April

Starting Friday, March 26 at noon, all seniors aged 74 and older, and all Indigenous people 55 and older will be able to get in touch with Fraser Health to book their COVID-19 vaccine.

Soon, people with a variety of health risks who are at greater risk from COVID-19 will also be able to get their vaccine. Just wait for your letter in the mail and you’ll be good to go.

Perhaps even sooner, people working in high risk jobs — grocery store employees, teachers, child care providers, postal workers, police, etc. — will be contacted by their bosses to get the vaccine as well.

Congratulations to them, all of those individuals who are both willing and able to get their vaccine and get us closer to a post-pandemic world.

Some of the rest of us are grumbling.

“It’s not fair,” you can imagine them saying. “I’m at higher risk than those guys. I deserve my vaccine first.”

Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t.Not my place to judge.

(I mean, I’ll judge a little if you’re a grown adult whining like a toddler who didn’t get a lollipop, but I’m not going to judge whether you deserve to get your vaccine first. That is above my pay grade.)

For every kid playing in my kindergarten sandbox, there was at least five other kids sitting cross legged on the floor, pouting because they couldn’t have their turn.

Was it fair to those kids on the floor to make them wait?

Probably not. But there certainly wasn’t enough room at the sandbox for everyone.

What is right isn’t always fair — and it’s not always easy to know exactly how to make the right decisions.

RELATED: COVID vaccine ‘not 100%,’ Dr. Henry warns communities getting first dose all at once

I do not envy the job of the provincial health officer and government in deciding which British Columbians should get their vaccine first.

It’s a big task, and one with very real consequences if they get it wrong.

But, right now, it’s not our job to stamp our feet and complain if we aren’t first in line. It’s our job to do what we learned to do at the sandbox in kindergarten, and wait our turn.

Do not call the Fraser Health booking line if you are younger than 74 (younger than 55 if you are Indigenous).

Do not hide behind your computer screen and book an appointment online, hoping they won’t notice when you walk in that you’ve aged really well for someone supposedly in their late 70s.

If you do this, your appointment will be cancelled. You will have wasted Fraser Health’s time, and taken potential appointment times away from the people who are eligible.

We must wait our turn.

We must be polite.

We must not call each other names.

We must share the things that are there for everyone to enjoy.

It’s what our kindergarten teachers taught us. It’s what I imagine they would want us to do now.

- Grace Kennedy, editor

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