A panel of experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course over the weekend, deciding it would be better if the COVID-19 vaccine guidelines resulted in fewer deaths, specifically among elderly Americans, who are statistically the most at risk of dying from the virus.
In what the New York Times is calling a "compromise," the panel voted to recommend that people age 75 and older be included in the second tier of individuals—after health care workers—to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, after initially placing them behind non-health care essential workers and people with preexisting medical conditions.
The CDC's expert panel, comprised of nerds who claim to believe in science, based its initial decision on the fact that older Americans are more likely to be white and therefore should be deprioritized in the name of racial justice. Those nerds were immediately called out by other nerds who argued scientific evidence would be a better basis for determining who should get the vaccine first.
Election nerd Nate Silver, for example, noted that, according to the CDC's own calculations, the virus is far more likely to kill old people than it is to kill people with certain preexisting conditions.
Age needs to be a higher priority than pre-existing conditions in vaccine rollout plans. Or a lot of people are going to die, unnecessarily. It really is that sample.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) December 19, 2020
The CDC panel ultimately backed down in the face of science-based criticism, and agreed that fewer old people dying would be a preferable outcome. According to the updated recommendations, people over the age of 74 and "frontline" essential workers—such as teachers, firefighters, and police—should be next in line to receive the vaccine.
Just as it has done since the start of the pandemic—when Americans were advised against wearing masks, scolded for thinking COVID-19 was more dangerous than the flu, and told that the health risks of large protests were different depending on the issue being protested—the "science-based" community of experts continues to prove that its judgment is beyond reproach, and any public skepticism of its expertise is completely unwarranted.