It might seem self-serving that a newspaper would call on New York state to include journalists on the list of those eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. To a degree, that might be true. More so, however, our concern is for the public good.
Since the start of the pandemic, journalists have been on the front lines, reporting on myriad local and national stories that have shaped the past year, exposing themselves to potential harm at hospitals, marches and political rallies. They have risked their lives to inform an anxious public, providing vital information to dispel fear and increase understanding.
Since last March, journalists have been allowed to continue their work because the government deemed them essential workers. Yet they have been excluded from the lists of those eligible for a vaccine. Why?
This isn’t solely about the journalists who have done their job admirably. It’s also about the public. One journalist might interact with dozens, if not hundreds, of people while covering a mass gathering of one kind or another, and if infected with the coronavirus, he or she could potentially expose many others to harm. From a public health standpoint, leaving journalists off the list thus makes no sense.
The Press Club of Long Island, a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is currently conducting a letter-writing campaign calling on Governor Cuomo to include journalists on the eligibility list. To join in that effort, go to bit.ly/30Xt1T4.