The Mother Lode: Are you ready for the COVID vaccine? Or are you vaccine entitled?

Photo of Claire Tisne Haft

“I’m not sure I am ready,” a friend told me after Gov. Ned Lamont announced a new timetable for COVID-19 vaccinations in Connecticut. “Now that our age bracket has a date, like the thing we’ve all been waiting for has become concrete — and I’m like … I don’t know. … It’s weird.”

“I am so jealous you live in CT,” an out-of-stater told me. “Please don’t complain. You have a date! Rejoice — and shut up!”

On Monday, Lamont announced that as of March 1, Connecticut will continue its age-based eligibility approach to the COVID-19 vaccine, while also dedicating special clinics to educators and child-care providers — a category that does NOT include moms. (I am the jerk who asked.)

Our intrepid columnist Claire Tisne Haft is ready for COVID to be over, but is she ready for the vaccine?

Our intrepid columnist Claire Tisne Haft is ready for COVID to be over, but is she ready for the vaccine?

Contributed / Claire Tisne Haft /

The breakdown looks like this: March 1, ages 55 to 64; March 22, ages 45 to 54; April 12, ages 35 to 44; and May 3, ages 16 to 34.

Which says a few things to me. One: I am old, but not THAT old. Two: I want to be in the 35-to-44 bracket, despite the vaccine benefit. Three: Sucks to be 34 — or younger. Four: Where are all those frantic public health-care workers, appearing ex machina with about-to-expire vaccines to give to anyone stuck in traffic jam on a highway in a snowstorm, that we keep hearing about?

“They are fictional,” my friend told me. “That snowstorm in Oregon was fake news from the deep state.”

Apparently one of the “tricks” many of my friends (especially those in New York City) have been attempting is to show up at a vaccine center at the end of the day and ask whether there any leftover vaccines.

“I showed up at 7:30 p.m.; there was a line of people trying the same thing,” one New York friend told me. “So I started coming earlier, and it worked. I mean, the vaccines expire within six hours, so when in Rome … or Brooklyn.”

There has been a lot of criticism about the equity of the vaccine distribution. State officials have tried to target diverse areas, only to have white Manhattanites in their 50s show up in droves. People have been lying or stretching their circumstances, like the Soul Cycle woman in NYC who claimed she was an “educator.”

“But she is,” a friend shot back, confused.

Bioethicists have a new term for this: It’s called “vaccine entitlement,” or “VE” for short.

Can you get a vaccine if you are rich and/or famous?

“No,” I’ve heard many say. “It’s like the one vestige of decency left in these ethically compromised times.”

“That’s a lie,” another friend said, when I quoted this back to him. “People just won’t talk about it because it’s gross. I mean, who uses words like ‘vestige of decency left in these ethically compromised times?’ I’ll tell you who: People who skipped the line, that’s who!”

“Hello, Yale New Haven COVID line, how can I help you?”

“Hey, so, I am wondering if I can set up my vaccination appointment,” I say.

“Of course, where are you located?’

“Greenwich, Connecticut.”

“OK, so there are a few options open to you — shall I list the available times, starting tomorrow?”

“Not tomorrow, but later, because I am not allowed yet,” I say.

“How old ARE you?” the operator asks, suspiciously.

“Forty-nine, but like, just over 49, like I just turned 49, so, not THAT close to 50,” I respond like a lunatic.

“You can’t get your vaccine until March 22,” the operator tells me, like I’m a lunatic, making it clear that she would now like to hang up.

“Right, so can we set it up for March 22?” I ask.

“You have to wait until March 22 to make an appointment,” she says to me, like I am even more of a lunatic than she had already imagined.

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” I tell her.

“Yes,” she says, flatly.

“So ... what if you show up at a vaccine center at the end of their day, and ask if they have extra shots,” I ask. “I hear that works.”

“Ma’am, can I ask if you have any reason you need to get the vaccine now?”

The fact that I want to take my daughter on vacation doesn’t sound so good, so I ask her instead if the category of “child-care providers” includes mothers?

“No,” she says, flatly.

I decide NOT to ask her whether there are any vaccine centers near highways prone to shut down due to snow and get off the phone because it’s clear that this woman considers me “vaccination entitled” — and hates me.

And then there’s the idea of coming out from under the comfortable, hidden, slowed-down quarantine lifestyle (yes, the one I’ve been complaining about for the past 10 months). The gig is up, the end is nigh, the finish line is in sight, and all I want to do is make another fire, watch another “Outlander” episode and eat more Sour Patch Kids.

“I am not ready to come out,” my friend said. “I’m fat!”

“It’s like all of us have cleaned house,” she said, but not the actual house, because THAT situation has never been worse. “We’ve learned how life feels when we shed the semi-friends, the extracurriculars, and the obligatory social events that don’t really matter. It’s like, ‘Wait, why am I doing this to myself?’ I think a lot of people will be living very differently when this is finally over.”

But will they? When everyone signs up for the lacrosse clinic that my son hates, ruins family dinners and engages once again in minivan mayhem — will I? Probably. Because I want him to get fresh air, do what other kids are doing, but is it worth it? What about all those nights we sat reading together, wasn’t that more valuable?

It remains unclear how much life will change after vaccinations. There’s still the issue of children, who can’t be vaccinated yet, as well as those who cannot take the vaccine — or won’t.

“At least we’ll still get to wear masks,” the friend-who-thinks-she’s-fat tells me.

And so as the sun comes creeping over the horizon earlier each morning and later each night, a new light is dawning for all of us.

“I feel like Blanche Dubois, in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ screaming for Marlon Brando to turn off the light,” my friend confessed. “And we all know what happened to her!”

Note to all you VE’s out there: It involved a nervous breakdown, committal to a mental hospital and “the kindness of strangers.”

Sounds about right.

Claire Tisne Haft is a former publishing and film executive, raising her family in Greenwich while working on a freelance basis on books and films. She can be reached through her website at