With Great Britain besting the Western world in being first to administer COVID vaccines, America is just a few days away from beginning its own vaccination project.
So, what are the priorities, protocols and pecking orders that will be applied and who might try to jump to the head of the line? On this joyous day, questions about fairness are already arising as officials distirbute limited amounts of the coronavirus vaccines.
Two elderly Brits became the United Kingdom's first to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine with the first shot going to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan.
"It's just so strange and wonderful really, This is for a good cause. So. I'm so pleased to have it done," said Keenan.
Second in line, no less than one William Shakespeare. Some observers quipped that Shakespeare should now go write the Taming of the Flu and Two Gentlemen of Corona.
"It could make a difference in our lives from now on, couldn't it?"said Shakespeare.
Each nation makes its own decisions as to who each precious dose of a vaccine and when.
In Great Britain, the first vaccinations will go to certain people aged over age 80. After that, hospital and nursing home staff are a priority.
In the U.S., medical staff, first responders and elderly in care homes are first on the list. In both cases, those are either most at-risk or those who must care for them.
"All of those people, because of their role, because of their jobs, get preferential standing," said Dr. Charles Binkley, Santa Clara University medical ethicist.corona
"But then there's things that are about social fairness, you know, the people who have to go to work everyday who are critical workers, just necessary to drive the bus, to work in the grocery store, to deliver things that are necessary," said Dr. John Schwartzberg, UC Berkeley Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology Emeritus.
They and others who are in essential, high risk jobs will have to wait until probably in January through March. "You've got to balance all these things," said Swartzberg.
The balance is to do the most good and the least harm. Is the person likely to contract COVID? Are they likely to spread it? Do they have a job or ability to lessen the risk by staying home?
The vaccine's success depends on treating people in each tier equally, with transparency for all, the ethicists said.
"Whether they run the largest corporation in the world or they're a resident of a long-term care facility, one's perceived power should have absolutely nothing to play, no role to play in the distribution," said Binkley.
And, what of the rich, influential, famous and powerful who can buy what they want when they want it?
"That's not justifiable,” said Binkley.
"In my judgment, at best, irresponsible and morally corrupt," said Swartzberg.
Consider this: In the four years of World War II, the United States suffered 291,557 combat deaths, a number of deaths caused by COVID that the country will reach this week. At the current pace, by the day after Christmas it will be 330,000 dead Americans. That's the equivalent of lives lost in World War II and the Korea War combined.
No time or dose to waste.