February 01, 2021
One of my favorite scenes from the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” finds mean old Mr. Potter as the chair of the draft board. As he reviews the possible draftees, he glances at their information and says, “1-A . . . 1-A . . . 1-A . . .” Being classified as 1-A meant “available for military service.” Potter had no plan for any of the people he was reviewing, except to say regardless of your situation you are eligible to be drafted. When I checked online, I found that draftees fall into one of five different classes, and each class includes a variety of different levels of availability. The jab the movie poked at Potter was his demeanor resulted in everyone being eligible for the draft.
When I was in High School during the Viet Nam War, I received my draft lottery number (257) in January of my Senior year. I assumed I would be drafted, but no one ever contacted me. What I did not realize was that I was initially classified as Class I –S, or a “Student deferred by law until graduation from high school or attainment of age 20, or until end of his academic year at a college or university.” On January 27, 1973, Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird announced the creation of an all-volunteer armed forces, negating the need for the military draft. The seventh and final lottery drawing was held on March 12, 1975 for men born in 1956. There were no new draft orders issued after 1972. As it turned out, I never rolled into 1-A status and missed the draft.
Since there was no federal oversight of the vaunted Warp-Speed rollout of the vaccine the states were left to make their own plans for distribution. Arkansas issued a three-phase plan for eligibility to receive the vaccine. Just like the draft, each phase seems to have several parts built into them. Phase 1-A (health-care workers, long-term residents and staff, and first responders) and Phase 1-B, part 1 (70 years or older, teachers and school staff, child-care, and higher-education) are both currently active. We have been told that Phase 1-B, part 2 (Food and agricultural workers, firefighters and police not in 1-A, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, childcare workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, and essential government workers) is set for implementation in February. Melissa and I both have the same classification (different reasons) as Phase 1-C (age 65-69, people age 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing, finance, IT and communications, energy, media, public safety, and public health workers). This is not scheduled until March. With the current scarcity of the vaccine, I might miss this as well.
Thoughts: The number of doses of vaccine each state receives is based on population. While we were told the procurement of vaccines and shipment to the states were being implemented at warp-speed, that was not the case. The administration did not have a plan for how to get the doses to the states (at least one that worked) and the states plans were so convoluted shots were not being delivered to the scheduled people. We should have known putting ex-military supply personnel in charge of the rollout was questionable. There is a reason why so many military units rely on scroungers to get what they need when they need it. We need to preform a reboot and provide a national approach to delivery. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.