my boss wants me to help him jump the line for the Covid vaccine

A reader writes:

I work in a medium-sized office in HR. My company’s CEO, a man in his early 40’s, has requested that my boss (the VP of human resources) help him get on a list for a Covid vaccine within the next few days. This task has been passed down to me. However, my state is currently only vaccinating health care workers and patients over 65. My CEO is not either of those things. I did call the hospital and was told there was nothing they could do, but my boss insisted I call again and keep pushing.

When the task was given to me, I was told that they wanted me to call because they didn’t want it to seem like a rich CEO was trying to cut his way to the front of the line. That made my stomach go up in knots because, well, frankly that’s exactly what it sounds like. I’ve been putting off calling again because it’s increasing my anxiety. There are people out there who are severely at risk and it feels awful that my CEO is trying to push his way in when he isn’t that at risk.

Is this a normal request for HR to help with? I feel scummy making these calls but don’t know how or if I should push back.

No, this is not a normal request for HR to help with.

It’s not a normal request for anyone to make.

It’s the request of a crap person who thinks he’s entitled to cut in line ahead of people who have a greater medical need than he does. And with the vaccine in such short supply, that means someone who needs it more — perhaps a health care worker, perhaps someone at high risk of dying if they’re infected — will remain vulnerable longer.

It’s grossly entitled.

It’s certainly true that wealthy and well-connected people have managed to get special treatment throughout the pandemic, like faster access to testing and better treatments. And I don’t doubt that some of them will find ways to jump the line with the vaccine too. We’re already seeing that Black Americans are getting access to the vaccine at far lower rates than white Americans.

But if your state is currently only vaccinating health care workers and people over 65, I’m curious exactly how he thinks you’ll be able to procure a slot for him. And “in the next few days”! What exactly does he think you can do? For that matter, what does the VP of HR who passed the assignment to you think you can do?

I’d go back and talk to your boss and ask her specifically what she thinks is within your power to do … and then point out how very, very bad it could be PR-wise if people found out your CEO used his position to jump the line ahead of people with a higher need. I’d say to point out the ethics too, but it seems pretty clear they don’t care about that.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 410 comments… read them below }

      1. The Niece*

        My uncle is a WWII fighter jet pilot who fought in many of the major battles in the pacific. He was shot down 4 (!!!) times. He is 99 years old. In the past year he has had a heart attack, a stroke, a broken pelvis and multiple major open heart surgeries. I still haven’t been able to find a vaccine for him even though he has not been able to leave his room at the care facility since March. And has not seen his children or grandchildren since then either. This makes me sick and LW’s boss is a disgusting human being.

        1. Anne of Green Tables*

          My father is a disabled veteran in his 70s with serious health issues and he received his first vaccine dose last week through the Veterans Administration. We have a very good VA here and they notified him a shot was available for him and included it with his regular appointment. I’ve heard VA quality varies, but it’s worth checking if you haven’t already. They are triaging doses though, because another veteran family member is on a waiting list. She is in her 70s and with the same VA, but is in good health.

    1. Deborah*

      Rollout is very variable from state to state. In some states you can claim all kinds of medical conditions and get the shot now, but your CEO had better do the lying and arranging themselves.

  1. MusicWithRocksIn*

    I suspect that the VP of HR knows that there is no possible way for this to happen and just wants to outsource embarrassing, pointless calls to someone else, so they can say the calls were made. It’s still a horrible thing to ask. My husband is a healthcare worker, and still hasn’t been vaccinated because his (small) company has to jump through so many hoops to get it organized. I would say sometime like “Everyone I have talked to was very firm that there is no way to jump the line” and then just not mention that everyone happened to be on Ask a Manager.

    1. Colleague’s Dog’s Viking Funeral*

      I’ve noticed this as well, with healthcare. There’s already a hierarchy. People who are employed by larger medical organizations, specifically universities, are vaccinating everyone. Including researchers, in other states, who are working remotely on research (as in calling people on the phone for studies.)
      Not trying to spread rumors, this a story told to me by my doctor in that organization who was just fed up and needed to vent.
      Take it for what it’s worth.

      1. Anononon*

        I think a lot of it is trying to find the balance between properly prioritizing the vaccines and making sure they actually get in arms without going bad. Without a ton of assistance (with people, money, organizing, etc.) and clear nationwide plans/procedures, this has shown to be very difficult.

      2. JustaTech*

        Big universities are the ones with the super cold freezers, because normally the only people who use a -80C freezer are researchers. So they’ve got the freezer space, and all these people in one location who’s information they already have, so they’re just vaccinating everyone to get it done. Is it the most equitable possible way to do this? Of course not. Does it get more people vaccinated faster? Yes.

        1. AnonForThis*

          I work at a large research hospital with a very cold freezer, and as a place that specializes in infectious disease, our hospital was granted a significant allotment of vaccines specifically for *employees*.

          Since this was approved under emergency use, no one in the US can legally require employees to get it, unlike with the flu vaccine, and a significant proportion of healthcare workers are turning out to be avoiding it. This is slowly shifting with more and more people publicizing how they got it and they’re fine and you should too.

          I am currently WFH, I stopped working with patients a few years back. Our hospital sped through all the frontline then the patient-contact employees who agreed to get vaccinated (mind you, they were very efficient at roll out because you don’t want to waste doses once you prep a batch), they opened it up to partial-WFH then fully WFH. Their plan was to use doses while waiting to see if any would need to be shifted to other places/if they are able to vaccinate others, plus it would be hard to tell if some WFH personnel might need to be “deployed” to work onsite depending on how bad things got.

          They’ve also been encouraging employees to share their stories of why they felt vaccination was the right choice, to post on social media, etc. So in that sense, vaccinating anyone you can may well aid in spreading acceptance and getting more of those hold-out nurses/techs/aides to get their shot too.

          Yes, I feel guilty as crap that I’m due for my second shot very soon while so many others haven’t gotten it yet. I’m also putting a ton of blame on the utter lack of distribution planning that came from “Operation Warp Speed” and no flexibility given to allow for cases like this.

          1. Huttj*

            Honestly, I’d not feel guilty in your position.

            For context, my mother is at risk, but not quite in the currently available categories. Her state is doing a piss poor job of organization (the central state vaccination site has no contact info for local resources to check availability, it’s a mess. Just says “check your local resources.”)

            Your employer got allotted X vaccine doses for employees, they prioritized their employees well, they don’t seem to be trying to skirt anything or classify employees as higher priority than they should be.

            If you turned down the shot at present, there is no way it would work its way over to my mother. Let what distribution infrastructure there *is* do what it does.

            If it were something like rumors that went round my mother’s town about ways to schedule a vaccination while skirting the appropriate windows, by using the hospital’s appointment app and bypassing the proper channel, that’d be different. But all is up front and proper for you.

            Oh, and yes the local hospital addressed the rumors and specifically told people not to do that. Because apparently my mother’s friend “heard about this just telling you” was not the only one who heard the rumor. My elderly mum’s perfectly fine waiting her turn, even if the state’s doing a bad job of indicating when that might possibly be. Seriously, my state annoys me a lot, but they have a damn fine vaccination website.

            1. CupcakeCounter*

              Agree with Huttj – don’t feel guilty. Once the batch is prepped it has to be used. THe other side of the equation is a dose went to waste. My MIL’s boyfriend ended up getting the vaccine because he was in the right place at the right time. Walking down the hallway at his local hospital after a follow-up and someone poked their head out and said “Hey want the vaccine? We have 5 doses we have to give in the next 15 minutes or they go to waste.” My MIL was so jealous. She hasn’t seen her only grandchild in MONTHS and just found out her other son and his wife are pregnant and all she wants to do is give them a hug.

          2. Elysian*

            “Since this was approved under emergency use, no one in the US can legally require employees to get it, unlike with the flu vaccine…”

            This is actually not the current guidance. Employers can required the COVID vaccine, subject to some exceptions, thought there are many valid reasons they may choose not to require it.

            1. AnonForThis*

              Ah, I see that was changed with EEO guidance about a month ago, apologies for being behind.

              My institution had specifically confirmed to staff that they were not making it a requirement at that time, so I expect that they are working on a policy of encouragement of adoption, education (weekly virtual meetings with education included), and personal stories from coworkers to sway the sentiment.

              Considering that our employee infection rate is very low and basically entirely community-driven, it does pay to vaccinate outside of the usual suspects, as Elizabeth noted below.

              1. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*

                Agreeing with above, please don’t feel guilty about taking an available dose when you became eligible. I just got my first dose Friday of last week, because that was my first date of eligibility. The hospital system I work in (back office, records and billing) did:
                *emergency dept staff
                * ICU and Long Term Care staff
                *long term care residents
                *all other hospital physicians, nurses, and CNA’s
                *outpatient clinic medical staff
                *patient contact non-clinical employees
                *non-patient contact non-clinical employees

                Now they are working on getting clinic patients over 75 or those with lung conditions like asthma in to get vaccinated.

                1. Rainy*

                  The clinic my GP practices at sent out a note that if we have an online health management account we’ve already been entered in the line, which was a load off my mind.

                2. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*


                  That’s how the system I work for is doing it. The online system lets the vaccine clinic pull reports on both staff and patient databases. And our Local System CEO (we’re national, with local system groups having their own CEO/manager) did two tours in the Military with Logistics Command on the medical side. She believes in an unbelievable amount of consideration being paid to “Murphey’s Law” and it has paid out so far in only one wasted dose in 6,000 administered (between first and second doses). She also insisted in splitting what our system received into First Dose and Second Dose batches to ensure nobody would end up messing up their regimen because we ran out of vaccine.

                  I have to say I have been impressed with our local roll out.

          3. Elizabeth*

            Our health system is doing something similar. I am permanently WFH in support of the revenue cycle. We were told that we are as essential to the functioning of the system as anyone else, because without us working, money can’t come into the system to pay other employees. We prioritized the direct patient care staff and the environmental services staff, but any employer who want to be vaccinated can be.

            I got my first dose a little over a week ago; second dose is scheduled for the first weekend of February. I was in a line of about 80 people, all employees of the system.

            1. Artemesia*

              I live in a big city where 40% of our very small allocation of vaccine has gone to people who live in rich northern suburbs that already got their own doses. Because most of our doctors and other high paid health care workers in the city live in those suburbs; they get the vaccine at work and in a hospital rich city there is nothing left for other at risk people. So all sorts of people younger than I am are able to get the vaccine and I an elderly person in the city probably won’t have access till March or April. It is really frustrating to hear that my peers in Florida, Nashville, and Seattle already have had the shots and we have not even a hint of when it will be possible here.

          4. Works for healthcare, not a healthcare provider*

            We had so few nurses showing up to get vaccinated, and our doses were specifically allocated for employees, that the powers that be finally opened it up to all departments, in the hopes that they’d be able to say look! Look at them! See how quickly they did this? Be more like them!

            1. Free now (and forever)*

              I’m so sorry to hear that your nurses weren’t signing up, I spent two weeks in the hospital after my colon perforated in December. I had emergency surgery and a temporary ostomy. In my two weeks, I saw a large number of nurses and aides. Almost all of them were thrilled to be signing up for their vaccinations.

          5. Anonthistimetoo*

            ” plus it would be hard to tell if some WFH personnel might need to be “deployed” to work onsite depending on how bad things got.”

            THIS. I am in a similar position. I have received the first dose of the vaccine even though I am a researcher WFH for the duration of the pandemic. They just do not know if they’ll need their “reserve” employees for non-skilled tasks in the medical center if it gets too bad. Currently, the medical center has nurses and other on-site folks doing symptom screening, testing, etc. but they can literally call me at any moment and tell me I must be onsite for my next shift in a totally new role.

            1. AnonForThis*

              I did volunteer for “deployment” back in March. When I got my first shot, I saw that someone from the hospital admin office was behind the desk, checking in employees for their appointments, so I know it’s a possibility, though (hopefully) unlikely.

          6. Jules the 3rd*

            As someone who is eagerly awaiting her chance to get a vaccine, but probably won’t be in line until April or even later: Please don’t feel guilty.

            Every shot used is a shot not wasted, and one shot closer to herd immunity.

          7. Colleague’s Dog’s Viking Funeral*

            Oh wow, please don’t feel guilty. The process is the process. It is flawed. It is flawed for everyone. You don’t deserve any guilt because of how the process works out.
            Please, be happy that you are part of the solution!

          8. Anon for Today*

            Employees who don’t work directly with patients may also provide services that keep the lights on at the hospital, so people should not feel guilty if their employer is offering them a vaccine right now. If you have the opportunity to get one, get one!

          9. AnotherAnonMD*

            Similar situation here….my large research hospital with plenty of access to -80C storage got allocated a large supply of Pfizer vaccinations in mid-December. First they vaccinated staff on COVID floors and hospital environmental services workers (because they’ve been keeping track of COVID test positivity rates among employees, and environmental services workers had a positivity rate several times higher than MDs/RNs/techs). Then they started vaccinating staff with primarily clinical roles and GME trainees (which is how I got my first vaccination two weeks ago, in a less-patient-facing subspecialty but still in a crucial patient care role — I had to wait in line for ~3 weeks behind 8,000-10,000 others first). Still, during this step they missed a good number of people just due to the challenges of pulling all the proper rosters from HR…for instance they apparently missed all clinical trainees in non-ACGME-accredited training programs (my speciality has a lot of non-accredited fellowships, so a lot my colleagues were missed). After that they offered vaccination to medical, dental, and other health science students. The next group was supposed to be other clinical personnel with less direct patient care roles…but then our new state governor took office and issued an executive order to allow teachers and those >70 to get vaccinated…which basically meant that the rest of our hospital staff lost access to the vaccine because shipments got reallocated. (If they’re HCPs they can still get vaccinated thru the VA (if applicable) or state health department.)

            Early in the vaccination campaign, my employer too was guilty of randomly vaccinating people who wouldn’t have been on the top priority lists, just because they happened to be around, and vaccine shipments had been opened and thawed. Better to put shots in arms than in the trash, though.

          10. Happy Pineapple*

            You absolutely should not feel guilty at all. You were offered something that was essentially turned down by someone else, and you’re doing your part to keep others safe.

            I’m in a very similar situation; I work in the corporate world, but shortly before COVID I became a registered volunteer at a local hospital. The hospital quickly went through everyone who needed to and wanted to be vaccinated and then opened it up to volunteers as well. Some people asked if that would be “jumping the line,” but the hospital kept saying that the more people who are vaccinated, the better.

          11. Bluesboy*

            I understand why you might have a sense of guilt, but you really shouldn’t. By having the vaccine you are protecting other, more at risk people, from exposure via you. Sure, it would be better if that dose went to someone who actually IS at risk, but that’s not on you!

      3. Person from the Resume*

        I know social workers for a healthcare organization that have been vaccinated. I presume the healthcare org got a certain number of doses and included their social workers in their employees vaccinated. I know these social workers work with high risk people, but that’s why they have not been visiting their clients since COVID started. But not long after this healthcare org started vaccinating people over 70.

        Even worse, I know a person who trains clinicians and one who does process improvement for a different large healthcare organization get their vaccine earlier than those social workers. Same thing. These are employees of a healthcare company, but in no way could be described as seeing patients, and they had some work from home days before the pandemic and then were working from home full time during the pandemic so “have to go to work in a hospital” is not an excuse. From what I heard this is the best healthcare org for getting seniors signed up for vaccinations, so it’s not like they haven’t started vaccinating the second priority group, but seniors and those with pre-existing conditions would have wanted those vaccinations too. I think that this isn’t very cool of them, but not entirely out of line.

        I see the problem is logistics. If we have universal healthcare then maybe we could all be prioritized, but there’s nowhere where everyone’s record is so, the logistics system is what it is and this is what we’re stuck with.

        At least these places are following the rules even if not the spirit of the rules. OTOH the LW’s is trying to break the rules. I don’t see it happening unless rich owner knows someone and contacts them himself. I don’t think an HR employee is going to be able to convince anyone to allow their boss to jump the line.

        It’s a horrible request, but I think LW did his due diligence (maybe more than) and can report there’s no jumping the line (at least not by having a junior guy call the official customer service lines). The people who answer the phone are all going to say no because of clear rules. The people who answer those phones aren’t even in the position to break the rules.

        1. Observer*

          Even with the best logistics, it makes more sense to be less picky with prioritization over more doses. In fact, to some extent, if you get too crazy over prioritization you can actually make it harder to get higher priority folks on the line because there are too many hoops to jump through.

          Someone upthread mentioned that their small healthcare org has been having trouble getting their staff vaccinated because of all the hoops – if they weren’t so picky about it, the place would have gotten their shots already. Is it possible that some people not on the priority list would have also gotten their shots ahead of the line? Yes. But which is better more people, and more priority people getting their shots along with some people who are not high priority or being very strict with priority and also limiting the ability of high priority staff to get their shots?

          West Virginia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country – and managed to get ALL of their nursing home residents and staff (that wanted) vaccinated well ahead of any other state. One of the reasons is that they decided that they are not going to be overly picky about priorities – they went to each nursing home and vaccinated EVERYONE there. They didn’t waste time to divide who was priority enough at a facility. So yes, it could be that someone who is just a back office person who never sees patients got their shot, but it also means that they were able to get in and get out and get it done.

          1. SomebodyElse*

            “Even with the best logistics, it makes more sense to be less picky with prioritization over more doses. In fact, to some extent, if you get too crazy over prioritization you can actually make it harder to get higher priority folks on the line because there are too many hoops to jump through.”

            Oh, so you’ve studied the WI method for hoarding vaccines. It’s ok though a sub committee to a sub committee just decided that mink farmers should be on the 1-b list somewhere they haven’t actually finalized the list though so the 1-b group isn’t ready to be called up yet, so to speak.

            Wait! That’s it… OP, tell your CEO to go out and buy a couple of mink and make sure he registers as Mink Farmers R Us LLC any you’ll probably be able to get him on the list. Now if was a standup guy he should put you all on the payroll as farm hands so that you can get the vaccine too!

            1. SomebodyElse*

              Oh good grief… I was going to correct a typo, but I see many now. Please ignore them and don’t poke too much fun at me for them.

            2. KoiFeeder*

              I’m pretty sure mink (as well as ferrets and other mustelids) can catch COVID. Which, mink farming still is not high on my priority list when compared to keeping people alive, but if I tilt my head and squint I can kiiiiiiiind of see a sort of logic.

              1. SomebodyElse*

                This is copied from jsonline dot com

                “The second phase plan approved Tuesday by the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee vaccine panel also includes teachers and child care providers, firefighters and police officers, health care workers who don’t treat COVID-19 patients and mink farmers due to the high risk of COVID-19 outbreaks among mink.”

                One of these things is not like the others…doo doo doo

                1. Nic*

                  Given that there is a major covid-19 variant that’s taken hold and spreading amongst mink, and many European mink farms have had to be completely destroyed to slow the spread…Yes, it’s a serious risk. And yes, there’s good reason to include mink farmers in the priority list.

                2. SomebodyElse*

                  Yes I know it’s a risk… but is it really a bigger risk than some of the others? I mean I’m not up on the current population of mink farmers, but I would think that it’s not exactly a huge population in relation to some of the other high risk populations.

                  Call me crazy, but I’d probably target mass transit drivers/workers, grocery store, nursing home workers (non medical), field utility workers, and a whole list of others long before I prioritized mink farmers a small population who are most likely to be rural to start with.

                  But hey.. at least I was able to offer the Letter Writer* a potential path for being employee of the month to their CEO.

                3. KoiFeeder*

                  I would have added wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, people working with stray/feral cat populations, and other folks who work with high-transmission animal higher up on the list than they currently are, too- although probably not this high up! You’re right that there are other people (janitors, non-medical nursing home staff, probably others on your list) that should be vaccinated first to prevent spread to the most vulnerable populations. It’s a balance between preventing wildlife reservoirs (bad) and preventing human death (very bad), and while I don’t think the Wisconsin legislators made the right call here I don’t have the information required to know what the optimal call would have been.

                4. Marion Cotesworth-Haye*

                  Mink is a high priority because there have already been demonstrated cases of COVID jumping from farmed mink to wild mink — which could result in the virus becoming endemic among the animal population, potentially mutating as it passes through the animal population and re-emerging to re-ignite a new pandemic our current vaccine does not work against. It has nothing to do with the value of the mink or the mink farmers themselves, but protecting the rest of us against future outbreaks we would start at square 1.

                5. tamarack and fireweed*

                  I think this making fun of the rule that adds the (handful of ) mink farm employees is pretty tasteless, given the justification for it.

                  Please, folks, don’t presume just because something looks odd or picturesque that the people whose job it is to find the best prioritization don’t know what they’re doing. We can all contribute to the spirit of getting this done, rather than tearing into anything and everything on a whim.

                  If vaccinating a few dozen mink farm employees ahead of where they would usually be scheduled eliminates the risk of transmission-by-mink, or even the destruction of thousands of animals, that’s ok with me. Not that I think mink farms aren’t problematic in themselves, but that’s not the job of the COVID vaccine schedule to resolve.

                6. Ophelia*

                  FWIW, I think the issue with the mink farming isn’t so much that they want to keep the mink from getting sick for the *mink’s* sake, but because if the virus establishes itself in an animal reservoir, it can hang out there and mutate, and then spread back to humans in a different-enough form that it would pose a new risk to public health.

                7. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

                  I mean, how many mink farmers ARE there? If you vaccinated every single mink farmer in Wisconsin, I doubt it would make much dent in the supply.

              2. Nic*

                Not only can they catch it, but at least one major variant has developed in mink. And if the mink variant (which is apparently pretty good at crossing between humans and mink) gets into wild mink, and passes into related species like badgers, weasels, martens, gluttons etc, then it creates a major viral reservoir that could further endanger humans. Vaccinating mink farmers is ALL about protecting the rest of us.

                1. MsSolo*

                  Is there any purpose to farming mink outside of the fur trade? Because honestly, this feels more like a reason to stop farming mink than to privilege mink farmers. As long as we farm them there’s a risk of the virus getting into wild populations, regardless of whether the farmers are vaccinated.

                2. KoiFeeder*

                  Ran out of replies, but @MsSolo I believe scrapie(?) can get into deer and other wild ungulates via sheep farming. Unless all animal farming is done in isolation with quarantine procedues to mitigate transmission risk (and frankly I wouldn’t necessarily be against that; factory farms are way too good at coming up with new and weird diseases), there’s always going to be a risk of diseases infecting wild populations.

                  More importantly, though? The other method of COVID (and other coronaviruses, like FIP) transmission to wild mustelid populations is via free-roaming cats. If you can convince people not to let their cats outside and have 100% compliance prior to vaccine rollout, I will personally award you permission to ban whatever farming you darn well please.

              3. Lightning*

                I’m guessing it’s based on the situation in Denmark where they had to cull millions of mink because the mink were getting COVID, then mutated it and spread it back to humans. (Link in other comment for moderation reasons.)

          2. Free marketeer*

            Exactly. These hairsplitting priority lists are the culprit. They are causing perfectly good vaccines to go unused. Central planning never works and always results in people like this CEO jumping the queue.

        2. Maeve*

          My mother is a social worker for a large hospital (the COVID ward is part of the area she covers, though of course she’s not spending IRL time with COVID patients) and she just got her second dose–but she does work with people face to face still, and I don’t think she’s alone in that.

      4. LQ*

        I think that the people who are organizing and putting out vaccines are professionals within their field doing the absolute best they can after nearly a year of very difficult work that they’ve had to do to make it work under a terrifying amount of pressure with an entire nation willing to Monday morning quarter back every single decision they make.

        We need to not spend all our time second guessing these professionals like we know more about their work than they do when a huge part of this site is about trusting professionals and being compassionate toward people who have had really hard years. Deciding that the people running and executing the vaccination programs are not doing a good enough job is a really bad idea.

      5. TL -*

        My hospital bought the doses for all its vaccines (was given the chance by the state to buy, but bought and paid for doses to cover all its employees – we are a large research hospital.) They’re rolling out the vaccine to all employees – it goes a lot faster than the state, based on size, and also, it’s in their best interest to get the vaccine to as many employees as possible.

        If they gave the vaccines to non-employees, they lose the money they paid for the vaccine (and it hasn’t been a banner year for hospitals) and they have no way of knowing when they’ll be able to vaccinate their employees.

    2. Phony Genius*

      And the VP may be trying to cover themselves by delegating the task. If they think that the CEO would fire the VP for failing to get this done, they could delegate the task that is bound for failure and save their job by firing the OP instead. (If this happens, it will be lawyer time.)

      1. Sacred Ground*

        Yes, THIS.

        CEO could pull their own strings, but knows it’d be embarrassing and possibly illegal, so pushed it on HR VP to cover CEO’s butt. VP now covers own by putting it on LW. LW needs now to cover themselves by documenting everything. If and when this goes to hell, LW is the sacrificial goat.

      2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        > it will be lawyer time

        It’s not illegal to fire someone for refusing to do an unethical or impossible task.

        1. Unfettered scientist*

          Interesting I did not know that! Question for you: what if the employer doesn’t state that that is the reason they’re being fired? I am really ignorant in this field, but I thought that in an at-will state, you could be let go at any time for almost any reason (exception being if it’s something to do with a protected class). What if employer just says we’re firing you because we felt like it? or we don’t need this position anymore, or because I want to hire someone else? If you know more about this, I’d love to know.

          1. Observer*

            In general, when you go to court over an allegation of improper firing, what the courts will look at is how convincing one side is over the other. Like, “I refused to do this illegal thing, and two days later my boss ‘discovered’ that my position is redundant. And by the way, two weeks later they hired someone with anew title but the same job duties that I had”. Of course, that’s a bit extreme, but that’s the kind of thing they are looking at.

            1. DireRaven*

              More likely than finding your position is redundant is that you get a target on your back and TPTB start combing the employee manuals for any minor rule that you have broken/employees are likely to break because it is basically ignored. Suddenly your work is not up to par and you find yourself being given conflicting instructions. Then you are fired for breaking rules or incompetence.

        2. LKW*

          Yes, but it is very embarrassing if it goes public. Nothing like a company saying “We’re with you in these unprecedented times but this guy we work with wants to be vaccinated before others who are more at risk so…eff you and your loved ones.”

        3. Anononon*

          Not exactly accurate. Some (all? most?) states have anti-retaliation laws where employees are protected. E.g. the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) in New Jersey. “As recognized by the New Jersey Supreme Court, “[t]he purpose of CEPA is to protect employees who report illegal or unethical work-place activities.” Roach v. TRW, Inc., 164 N.J. 598. 609-610 (2000) (citing Higgins v. Pascack Valley Hosp., 158 N.J. 404, 417 (1999)). ”

          HOWEVER, I’m not sure if this scenario would be covered under CEPA or a similar statute. I don’t think it would be – I don’t think it’s egregious enough legally to try to get a vaccine.

        4. Observer*

          It’s not illegal to fire someone for refusing to do an unethical or impossible task.

          Technically, that’s true. But there are some “public policy” exceptions that could come into play.

          And lets face it, this is the kind of situation where if the OP can tell the story in a convincing way, the company might settle to keep it out of court and the public eye.

          I’m not a fan of using the court system this way. But if a company is that sleazy, they have it coming.

          1. pancakes*

            I don’t see how or why your personal feelings about “the court system” would or should play any role in anyone else’s access to litigation. I also don’t see any good reason to tut-tut the idea of someone suing a former employer knowing that you’re making a sweeping, fact-free generalization rather than commenting on any particular case.

    3. Letter Writer*

      I wish this was true but I think my VP genuinely wants to me keep pushing. He sent a follow up email yesterday on my day off asking for an update.

      I may steal that language though. Thanks for your comment!

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Here’s one of the situations where I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to lie. Say you have called again, they said ‘no’ whenever you get asked for an update.

        Or, come back with ‘they’ve said no, and they’re now telling me NOT to contact them again on this matter’.

        (From the point of view of a former virologist turned IT manager this would be my ‘soft’ answer if someone refuses to accept that they are not more important than others. I’d probably ask the vaccination team to send an email along those lines, I know they’ve got lots better to do than deal with one guy’s ego)

        1. Ananona Mouse*

          If you can get them to send an email, maybe you can ask if they can reference the Titanic and those men who tried to get into the boats before women and children.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            If I still worked in virology I’d jump at the chance to compose a ‘we’re busy, you’re annoying, go away’ email. Every lab has someone with a sufficient sarcasm streak in my experience…

          2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            The only trouble with that analogy is that fewer people would have died if they hadn’t used that method to load the Titanic’s lifeboats (would have been better to load passengers as they arrived, as many as possible per boat, analogous to first-come-first-served and don’t throw vials away until they’re totally empty).

        2. boop the first*

          Yep, same. I could easily lie about this, because it’s not really a lie if the answer is guaranteed to be unchanging.
          For a while.

        3. Mephyle*

          Call again. And again. Explain to the hospital each time that your boss is a special snowflake and wants to jump the queue, and you’ve been tasked with “making it happen.” This a situation that calls for full honesty. They‘ll understand where you’re coming from. And if they tell you to stop calling, so be it.

          1. Mephyle*

            Wrote my comment before I saw JSPA’s suggestion below. I guess mine is the fantasy version of JSPA’s realistic and practical advice.

        4. Liz*

          I agree in this situation its ok to fib.

          And all my docs are within a major medical group in my state. Which just opened up to anyone 65 or over, even though not all the “older” eligible folks and healthcare workers etc. have been vaccinated. The group, as well as several others, actually sent out an eamil specifically stating do not call, email, etc. your doctor or the overal group, trying to get an appointment as there are none available. and that by continuing to do so, they deny other patients needed non-COVID and vaccine care.

        5. HarvestKaleSlaw*

          Morally acceptable to lie? Sure. Wise in this kind of workplace? I would worry. It is awkward for them to fire the LW for not getting the CEO on the vaccine list. It is easy to fire the LW for lying.

          I genuinely think the best course is to do exactly as you are told – use the wording they gave you as closely as you can. Use the flattest, most affectless voice you can use, shy of open sarcasm. And CYA with detailed reports to the VP:

          “Dear VP of HR,

          As you requested, I called xxx hospital and requested that they provide a vaccine to CEO. They told me that he did not qualify. What do you recommend for next steps?


          “Dear VP of HR,

          Thank you for coming to my office to answer my previous email in person. I took detailed notes on your advice and instructions (see attached dated, time-stamped, contemporaneous notes). Your advice was to explain that CEO is important to the community and not to take no for an answer. I did this. The hospital person, whose name I recorded as Jane Doe, told me that his importance to the community does not qualify CEO for a vaccine. I replied that I cannot accept no as an answer. They hung up on me. What do you suggest for next steps?


          1. AthenaC*

            Chiming in to add my vote for this approach ^^

            Also print off these emails and retain paper copies.

          2. pancakes*

            I would not ask about next steps. There isn’t anything at all about the scenario that suggests there are any legitimate next steps. If the VP of HR nonetheless wants to encourage the letter writer to pester the hospital, they don’t need an invitation to do so.

            1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              I see your point – but if common sense were operating here, the LW wouldn’t have been asked to “get the CEO a vaccine” in the first place. I was thinking of this more as putting the ball back in the VP’s court. If they want the hospital pestered with repeated phone calls, then they need to spell it out in writing. If they want the LW to call at odd times of the day to try to get someone different on the phone, they need to explicitly ask. If they want the LW to lie about the CEO’s health status, they need to order the LW to lie.

              Right now, the LW has just been handed an impossible task with orders to make it happen. My suggestion is that at every step, they lob this ball back in the VP’s face and say, “okay but how?” Basically – don’t do the creative problem solving for these people. Be a needy robot who requires explicit task programming.

      2. JSPA*

        “My current job duties require me to call you twice a day to request a covid vaccine for a man in his 40’s with no declared pre-existing conditions. Please make a note of my number to save us both time.”

        Anyone with a shred of sense and proportion will hear, “please pick up and hang up, I know this is ridiculous.” Your boss, should he overhear you, will hear, “please pay attention to me”–because that’s how he rolls.

        1. OhNo*

          This is a very good approach, and what I would recommend if the LW really can’t get out of calling. If the VP and/or CEO is going to demand you call, might as well make it as easy on the folks answering the phone as possible.

          I’d avoid the “man in his 40’s with no declared pre-existing conditions” language while bosses are within hearing distance, though. It definitely reads as giving the folks on the other end a reason to deny you, which someone as self-centered as the CEO might call “not giving it your best effort”. But it’s good context for the folks answering the phone to have if you can get away with it where no one will hear.

        2. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*

          I would change the script to
          “My current work load includes calling you twice a day to request vaccination for a male in his 40’s with no pre-existing conditions that I have been made aware of.”

          This should still accomplish what CEO and HR VP are demanding, while getting you off the hook with the hospital/vaccine help line. It can also give them the opportunity to instruct you (and see if they will/can do it in writing) to have CEO follow up with his PCP if he genuinely feels he needs to be a higher priority vaccine recipient.

      3. Indy Dem*

        I would say that the hospital has said no, stop calling us, and said for the patient (CEO) to reach out to his PCP for the next step. And of course the PCP office WON’T talk to you because of patient/doctor confidentiality.

        1. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

          I don’t know about in general, but with our health plan, the only way to even schedule an appointment for the vaccine is by doing a telehealth appointment first where you prove your priority, and then they put the code in the system that lets you see the and use the vaccine scheduling page. LW can’t take a doctor’s appointment on the CEO’s behalf, obviously, just as you say.

      4. Sacred Ground*

        Save every email you have in relation to this and log every call you’ve made about it, time, date, who you talked to, what was said.

        If they retaliate against you for not doing the impossible and illegal, you may be really glad you did this.

      5. HugsAreNotTolerated*

        1.) Please tell me you didn’t reply to that follow-up e-mail while you were on your day off!
        2.) MusicwithRocksIn’s language is great and I think it would be pretty effective. The part about jumping the line is a fairly subtle way of calling the CEO out that that is exactly what he’s doing. It could even be tweaked to be less subtle “XYZ was clear that there is no way for CEO to cut the line since many healthcare workers are still waiting to receive their vaccine.”
        3.) If you VP wants you to keep pushing, then just hand it back to them with: “XYZ was firm that CEO is not eligible for a vaccine at present and that their answer will not change with additional calls from me. If you or CEO would like to contact them directly here is the phone number.”

        You can do this! This is worth holding firm on!

      6. Bilateralrope*

        I think it’s time to make sure that email finds its way to somewhere they can’t delete it. That way you’ve got the option to go to the press if they fire you over this. Either because you’re refusing to do as they ask, you’re failing or you attract too much attention and they decide to throw you under the buss.

      7. Observer*

        Maybe have an off the record chat with someone so you can get them to put something in writing that you can then forward to the VP.

        Like, call someone a little higher up if you can and tell them “My boss is being ridiculous and hounding me to keep making these calls. What are some significant penalties for trying to jump the line?” then ask “Could you send me an email saying that you will contact us when CEO becomes eligible, but if we keep calling and requesting to be given higher priority you will do X (maybe take CEO off the contact list altogether?)”

        If they agree to that, you get the email and send it on to your VP. The side effect is that the clinic knows that YOU know that this is out of line and you do not want to be the one causing problems. And that you would like to find a solution that stops this from continuing on.

        1. Persistence*

          OP should be calling pharmacies at the end of the day where there may be extra vaccine left in vials. That is how people have gotten vaccine early.

          1. RVA Cat*

            That’s a great idea that’s also ethical because the vaccine would otherwise go to waste. It also puts it on the CEO to hurry his butt over there if he wants it so badly.

          2. Alex*

            I think the point is that this is not OP’s job, and that the CEO is a massive jerk. OP does not actually want the CEO to get to cut the line in front of people who need it.

            1. Observer*

              The boss is a jerk. So?

              Getting a dose in this way does NOT keep it from someone who would otherwise be getting one – that’s the point of what these places are doing this. They are literally giving shots that would otherwise be discarded otherwise.

              To refuse to help the CEO is the equivalent of cutting off someone else’s nose to spite your face.

              1. No Name #1*

                Okay, but it actually is unfair and unethical in this case. A presumably wealthy CEO who is in his 40s is taking advantage of the fact that he has employees who he can outsource for this while people in my city are lining up at 4am to scrounge for whatever extra vaccines that pharmacies may or may not have at the end of the day. This is a very clear and blatant example of a wealthy individual taking advantage of their resources to try to game the system.

                Additionally, calling pharmacies to essentially reserve an appointment for someone who is not in the current phase for the vaccine is not any different than the OP trying to get the more conventional vaccine appointment for him. I am guessing that a reputable pharmacy will tell OP to tell her boss to show up at the pharmacy and hope that there are enough leftover vaccines just like everyone else. Actually, it is in their best interest to abide by the department of health’s guidelines and not allow people like the OP’s CEO to circumvent the rules to get an appointment in advance. At a minimum, if the public caught wind of it, this is a PR nightmare for the pharmacy and they could potentially be on the hook for a legal investigation and consequences if it comes out that they are offering appointments to people on the DL rather than having them wait and hope for extra vaccines. This has actually happened with a clinic in NY that gave hundreds of people vaccines, not because they had extra but because they made appointments for these people and then tried to hide it.

                Finally, from an ethical standpoint, he is taking a vaccine from someone else who probably needs it more than him. People who have the privilege of working from home right now and who are not in a high-risk category should not be getting vaccines before essential workers and people who are high risk. I have no issue with essential workers waiting for extra vaccines at the end of the day but I do take issue with a wealthy CEO with resources many people do not have available to them. If he is in a high risk category, it is understandable that he would want the vaccine now, but that is a matter for him to take up with his doctor or to wait until we move onto that phase.

      8. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*

        Yup – time to deploy the partial truth of “they said not eligible yet” and keep deploying until eligibility’s change.

        For what it’s worth the system I work for set up a vaccine clinic, and staffed it with schedulers as well. The clinic is calling all people who are in an eligible group and asking if you want to come get jabbed, and scheduling everybody who says yes. They also have not given out the vaccine clinic’s phone number, and the web page for it says that “we will contact you to schedule an appointment as soon as you become eligible” with a link to contact via email if you have questions or change your mind about getting vaccinated.

      9. I'm just here for the comments*

        You may want to also check out the website of your state health department and/or local health department for their information on the vaccine roll-out. Depending on the state it is illegal to jump the line and can result in pretty significant fines, at the very least.

      10. rmric0*

        What exactly are your boss and the CEO expecting you to do? Are they just hoping you will get lucky and they’ll be like “sure, send your boss in for a dose!” Or is this just one of those things where the boss is used to getting what he wants, but doesn’t understand “don’t you know who I am?” doesn’t stretch that far.

    4. Momma Bear*

      I have friends who are frontline healthcare workers who are being leapfrogged by office people who never see a patient. That is maddening enough. What your CEO is requesting is passing the buck from him to you to try to jump the line which is cowardly. I would hold firm that you did inquire and were told that he did not qualify and then provide information on the phase he belongs in, for example maybe it’s Phase 3 with the general public. He’s not more important than a nurse, a teacher, an EMT, a police officer, or someone’s grandma. He may not like the answer but the answer is no, and if he wants to push, I would tell my boss that this is not something I am comfortable pushing for. It’s frankly unethical.

      1. Momma Bear*

        (To clarify, they all work in a hospital, but some work in back offices and some are actively treating patients.)

      2. Observer*

        Boss is unethical. The problem here is that the OP needs a solution that doesn’t put their job at risk.

    5. Fried Eggs*

      I am also pretty certain the VP of HR knows this is never going to happen and just wants to be able to give the CEO a long list of things they tried.

  2. Nice Try, FBI*

    I wish I could say I was surprised, but seeing a bunch of low-rate politicians and executives cut the line over the past few weeks has made it hard to surprise me.

    Seeing people who downplayed the pandemic cut the line infuriated me. If I were OP, I’d be looking for a new job and leaving a review of what happened on any employee site out there. Disgusting.

    1. Letter Writer*

      A new job is definitely in the works! I’ve been applying and hopefully one comes along soon.

      1. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*

        Agreed, best of luck getting a new job to take you away from here.

        Also, posted this elsewhere, but putting here as well in case it gets missed.

        Do you think telling VP and/or CEO that hospital said “you don’t qualify yet, but if you feel this is in error please consult with you care team/primary doctor to discuss why you should be in a higher priority group” would work?

      2. JosieJOK*

        Good luck in your job search. In the meantime, as satisfying as seeing your CEO get his comeuppance would be, your best bet is simply to do as he asks and get out of dodge ASAP. Don’t bother with clinics/hospitals; call pharmacies. If they have extra doses that have been thawed but not given, your CEO might luck into a vaccination, and at least he’ll be getting one that otherwise would go to waste, rather than one someone else needed.

      3. allathian*

        Good luck with your job search! What your CEO is doing is unethical and would have me looking for a new job as well.

  3. Arctic*

    The sad thing is this should engulf me in flames of rage but I’m at the point where I’m just grateful people are actually willing to get the vaccine and believe Covid is serious.
    (Still enraging! This isn’t to minimize how horrible CEO is just to say how worn down I’ve become that just being willing to take it is now a pleasant surprise. Good old fashioned corruption and greed. Not conspiracy theory insanity.)

    1. WellRed*

      If you have to keep making the calls, make sure you clearly state CEO’s name and the name of the company. Over and over ; )

      1. Threeve*

        I would actually present that as a “concern.”

        “I’ve actually been hearing about organizations’ reputations taking a big hit when things like this get exposed. People in the healthcare field are telling me that a lot of executives who jump the line are probably going to be publicly identified eventually because enough healthcare workers are frustrated with it to be less discreet than they should be.”

        1. AKchic*

          Actually, a very good reminder.
          Example: Stores with pharmacies (i.e., Walgreens, Kroger, etc.) the clerks that stock the shelves/cashiers who aren’t specifically working in the medical sections aren’t medical people. If they know that there are “extra” doses for the day because someone missed their appointment, and someone just happened to call in looking to see if there was any going spare and got lucky, they might know/notice. Especially if it’s not a regular customer.
          Line jumpers for vaccines are no better than line jumpers for life rafts when a boat is sinking.

          1. Grapey*

            A “line jumper” that gets a shot that would otherwise be disposed of (since they are very time sensitive) is a different category of people that specifically ask in advance to be prioritized.

            I would actually think less of stores that were so rigid that they’d rather waste prepared doses vs give them to “opportunists” in a pandemic.

            To use your raft analogy, it’s like being in a half empty one but sailing past 3rd class people in the water in case there’s some first class children up ahead. The idea of a line for life rafts is ridiculous anyway and shows the failure in leadership where there should be enough spots for everyone to begin with.

            1. Roci*

              We don’t call those people “line jumpers”. We call them lucky.

              It’s the difference between being in the right place at the right time, and getting tired of waiting so you cut in front of the people lining up in front of you.

      2. Colleague’s Dog’s Viking Funeral*

        I swear to all this is right in the world, I would call and say:
        “Hi, I’m calling on behalf of Jag Jaggerson, the CEO of Evil Corp. He doesn’t want to appear like one of those entitled CEOs who are trying to get a vaccine ahead of schedule, so I’ve been tasked with finding out how he can get a vaccine ahead of schedule. Thanks for your time.”

        1. Anonapots*

          This right here. It’s possible the person at the other end will tell the LW in no uncertain terms what she can tell the HR VP, who can then pass that on to the CEO. “Person on phone said, and I quote, ‘Who the hell does this guy think he is? Under no circumstances can he jump the line. Do not call again and tell that guy to get fucked.’ Sorry.”

          1. Insert Clever Name Here*

            I think it’d be fun to tell CEO “yes, there is a way to get it earlier than your group! I’m sending you a link to an application to fill out, then you have to be accepted, but once you’re accepted you’re good!” And send the link to a nursing school application. Muahahaha!

            1. JustaTech*

              “They said you could only get one if you have one of these very serious conditions. Which one would you like to contract? I don’t know how you could get stage 4 cancer by next week, but maybe you could figure out some very serious lung damage?”

              Of course you can’t say that, and more’s the pity because maybe it would drive home how ridiculous this request is.

              1. Solana*

                I’m a lab animal attendant who works in biohazard and have researchers working on brain and breast cancer…

      3. Reba*

        I would absolutely push back on making the calls at all! It’s taking up phone lines and time from callers and health workers.

        1. BethRA*

          I know. I get the revenge fantasy aspect and would looove to see this jackwagon outed, but the people answering those phones have enough to deal with.

          Also, I love how the CEO seems to think someone can “gumption” their way into getting the vaccine. Like the reason he can’t get vaccinated is because the person he’s tasked with this just hasn’t tried hard enough.

      4. Mx*

        It may backfire. I can perfectly imagine this kind of CEO having a go at LW if they get a bad PR as a result.

    2. Cat Tree*

      In different circumstances, this would be bad enough for OP to name and shame the company. But since it’s not an overall policy and is just one thing that was demanded of one employee, it would be too identifiable. I don’t expect OP to risk their job to out this man.

    3. Persistence*

      Another idea: can the CEO go to Russia to get vaccinated? I have heard that the Russian vaccine is more accessible to the general public and that they are accepting foreigners.

      1. Alex*

        Bonus: that vaccine did not undergo uh…the rigorous testing that the EU and US vaccines did. So it’s peak “play stupid games win stupid prizes” kind of move for CEO

      2. nonegiven*

        Hey, why not? If he can afford to go to Russia.

        My husband got his first shot about 10 days ago. While he was there he heard other people talking. It turns out people are coming from 100 miles away and getting the appointment slots that should have gone to people in this county.

        Now that I know they didn’t ask to see his Medicare card, I wish I’d lied about my age and gotten mine, too, I’ve already registered with my true age. I’m 8 months too young but I’ve got several chronic conditions that put me at risk.

  4. BusyBee*

    So my mom works in healthcare and is leading the charge when it comes to vaccine logistics for her organization. She’s working INSANE hours, trying to come up with procedures on the fly, and charged with an incredible amount of complex work that was dumped on her in January. There are SO MANY people like this CEO who keep calling her organization, emailing her, emailing her team, and insisting that they take priority because Reasons. Not only is that not true, but it slows down the process. I totally understand that folks feel desperate: everyone wants a vaccine, supply is limited, and folks feel vulnerable. But please please please, don’t harass the local hospital. They are incredibly overwhelmed, under-supported, and really trying their hardest.

    1. Letter Writer*

      When I call, I’m definitely not. I try to be as kind and helpful as I can be but I know it still sucks. Hopefully this will end soon!

      1. Observer*

        Document all of the calls you make – and find someone who can and will tell you “Do NOT call again.” At that point it should be a bit easier to tell your HR VP to back off.

      2. Jules the 3rd*

        Try this script, after a couple of days, in an email:
        “Hi Boss,

        I reached a supervisor, who told me:
        1) Even if we got an appointment, CEO would be rejected at the site because he does not meet the current Phase I guidelines.
        2) We need to stop calling so that CEO is not de-prioritized.
        3) CEO’s best chance of an early vaccination is to contact their primary care physician and start an application. No one can do this for CEO, he needs to talk to his physician’s office directly.

        I’m so glad CEO is ready for the vaccine! It will be a great example for all of us.

        Thank you,
        Letter writer.
        Nice and positive. Then in an unwritten conversation:
        “Hi boss, I wanted to follow up on that email. The supervisor also gave me a word of advice: people getting a vaccine ahead of their planned phase may face a backlash, like what we saw against some of the younger politicians, but worse. Horrible PR for a company if its CEO is caught at it.”

        The negative stuff gets spread in a ‘nudge-nudge / wink-wink’ kinda way, which makes it land harder. CEO thinks he’s got an ‘inside story’.

        Don’t mention the ‘some pharmacies may have doses late in the day’ option, or you’ll be spending your days calling local pharmacies.

        Good luck!

    2. OkapiFeels*

      My mom is in a similar situation, BusyBee! She’s had some absolutely insane bullshit to deal with relating to the vaccine. So much love to your mom for doing the hard work for others.

      1. BusyBee*

        Virtual hugs to our moms! I admire everyone who is working so hard for the benefit of us all, but man oh man is it a lot of effort. I hope your mom is hanging in there and doing well!

        1. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*

          I witnessed somebody doing a drop in trusting to cut the priority queue on Friday and well, one of the people waiting to get their dose (filling out the forms) put a stop to the guy berating the vaccine clinic staff.

          Guy walks over to drop in prima donna and pulled up a sleeve to show a Marine Corps tattoo. Then he pulled up both his pant legs to reveal a pair of prosthetic legs. Looked the guy who’d been carrying on about I need a shot now in the eyes and said “shut the hell up and leave now. I’d love to be in your shoes, but I’m here now because I lost a lung the same day I lost both legs in combat.”

          Mr Prima Donna turned tail and I was shocked he didn’t break the speed of sound getting out of there.

          1. Also Anon MedSupport Staff*

            That first line should have read “doing a drop in trying to cut the priority queue”.

            1. Anonymous Nonprofit*

              I kept rereading that first line wondering what I was missing! Should’ve kept reading. ;)

    3. Double A*

      This is such a good point for the OP — any more calls with just gum up the system even more and delay the process for everyone even more.

    4. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Yeah, I understand where everyone is coming from by saying “just keep calling and keep telling him they’re saying ‘no'” but I wonder if LW can find a phone number that allows the script to be said to the phone tree so they aren’t bothering anyone?

      So, Stupid Self-Centered Boss hears “hello, I’m calling to find out how my boss can get a vaccine early. That isn’t possible? Ok, thank you” but on the other end of phone, it’s “You’ve reached Community Hospital. Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed. To speak to Radiology, press 1…”

    5. WFHHalloweenCat*

      May I just offer a heartfelt THANK YOU and apology to Momma Bee! My mid-sized, private “essential” but not really essential company is currently lobbying our local health care system to promise us enough vaccines for all of our employees and all dependents ASAP and it honestly makes me so sick to think about them even entertaining that idea.

    6. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Yeah, our GP practice has put up a lot of messages etc. On their phone line to tell people to NOT call them asking to schedule a Covid vaccine. Their phone line is busy enough and the scheduling is being done centrally by the NHS so you can’t jump the queue by ringing your GP.

      (The stresses on the medical and scientific community at the moment are unbelievable. Several of my friends work at the local hospital and I’m very concerned they’re heading for the same kind of nervous breakdown I had)

  5. EPLawyer*

    oh YUCK.
    Your CEO sucks and your boss sucks for asking you to do this.

    Lawyers are allegedly 1C which would make me higher on the priority list. I would love to be there. But I am hearing rumblings that that means Judges/DAs/Public Defenders not private attorneys. Unless they qualify some other way. While I think private attorneys need to be vaccinated if we are going to get the justice system back to full functioning (don’t get me started on jury trials), if they don’t vaccinate private attorneys as 1C, well I will just wait my turn. Because that’s what reasonable adults do.

    1. Another JD*

      I think lawyers are bumped to Phase II, or at least in my state we’re not specifically named in Phase I anymore, despite the CDC guidelines. I can’t find any definition for “continuity of government” either. My husband is an AAG, so I’m not sure if he’s eligible, and he hasn’t heard anything through his office yet.

      1. EPLawyer*

        I’m good with wherever I wind up in the list. I joke there will be herd immunity from the vaccine before I’m eligible which is GOOD. (of course, if I am in the drug store and they say they have doses going to waste, does anyone want one, I will sure as hell say yes provided someone else present is not more eligible)

        My husband is in manufacturing and I am THRILLED he will be eligible to get it soon. I celebrated when my niece the teacher got it. I just want folks VACCINATED.

        1. OyHiOh*

          Me too!

          I’m in CDC Phase Three, with a mid summer birthday. If vaccinations for people like me (and the letter writer’s CEO!!!) are available before my birthday, I will be shocked. Meanwhile, I’m treating this kind of like voter registration/voting: People are far more likely to register and/or vote after a conversation with a friend then they are if they just hear PSA’s to register/vote. I’m proceeding on the assumption that voluntary vaccination triggers the same set of behaviors – PSA’s will help, but people are far more likely to take action after talking with a friend and talking about it as much as I possibly can.

        2. Hazel*

          Me, too! My girlfriend, who works directly with hospital patients, had her second dose a couple of weeks ago. Now I just need to worry about my family member with diabetes and my elderly parents in southern California. :-| (I don’t even know what emoji to use for this situation we’re all in)

        3. Elenna*

          Honestly, at this point I’d be pretty annoyed to be told to be vaccinated, even though I’m super curious how I’d react to it. Not because I don’t think the pandemic is serious (it clearly is), and not because I have anything against the vaccine. But I’m a healthy 23-year-old, living with healthy adults under 60, working exclusively from home with basically no problems, etc. If someone told me to go get a shot I’d be like “what? why? can I give it to someone else instead?”

          Admittedly I’m a little worried that the senior management of the huge, essential bank/insurance company I work for will (reasonably!) ask for vaccines for their employees who can’t work from home, and it’ll trickle down into everyone at my company getting vaccinated early. But our senior management has seemed pretty sensible this whole time, so hopefully that won’t happen?

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            Unfortunately, as I found out, being healthy, young etc. is not a foolproof protection against death to Covid. (Lost 3 friends last year. All under 40. All with no underlying issues. I’m now scared for everybody)

            1. Elenna*

              Oh for sure, but I figure my chances are probably better than most, at least! So it doesn’t make sense for me to get the vaccine earlier than others who are at higher risk.
              (Of course if it’s a matter of “you take this vaccine or nobody takes it” then I’ll take it.)

        4. Persistence*

          If you just want folks vaccinated do away with these pointless priority lists. Medical people first, the over 70s, everyone else gets a lottery number that they can tradem

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            You missed out the high risk groups (basically those determined at higher risk of serious illness/death to Covid and not due to age)

          2. TL -*

            That doesn’t make sense, though – the prioritization lists, as frustrating and imperfect as they are, will maximize effect of vaccine. We’re working off the theory that the vaccine will help prevent spread (not known yet, but we’ll have that data soon!) and if it turns out it does and we distributed in the vaccine in a way that didn’t take maximum advantage of that – well, that’s a failure of public health and I think we’ve had enough of those this pandemic already.

      2. Delta Delta*

        In my state roughly 90% of the population is ahead of me. I’m a lawyer but I’m also fairly young, healthy, and don’t have preexisting conditions. So, I’ll just wait my turn. I’m okay with that.

    2. Anononon*

      In my state, one of the employment sectors listed to qualify is “judicial system/sector”, and it doesn’t include any follow up questions on that, so I’m assuming that private attorneys still qualify.

    3. Kesnit*

      I’m a public defender. My boss was telling everyone last week that he has been contacted by the local health department for information on everyone in the office and to find out who wants the vaccine as soon as we are eligible. I live with my in-laws and my father-in-law has serious respiratory issues and is on oxygen. I want the vaccine ASAP!

      My father (in his 70s) lives in FL and has been trying to get the vaccine. Supplies are extremely limited and he has not been able to get an appointment yet.

  6. HarvestKaleSlaw*

    Thankfully not for lifesaving vaccines, but I have been put in similar situations before. There is a certain class of people who are never ever ever told “no” or “you can’t have this thing you want.” They always assume they can just order an assistant to get it – whatever it is – for them. The word “no” doesn’t compute.

    1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

      The folks who look at you and blink when you point out “this is absolutely not how this works, at all, that’s not something that can even happen” and then restate the impossible must be done. Sigh.

    2. Paulina*

      Yes. And getting a lower-level employee to make calls on his behalf makes this CEO look even more like he’s abusing his privilege, not less. It’s so important to him that he jump the line, but not important enough for him to try to work the system himself apparently.

      I almost hate to suggest this because it might actually work for him, but to push back against the insistence that the LW keep trying to make it happen: maybe indicate that you just don’t have the connections to get any variance in the rules.

      1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

        I don’t get it! I read all of the Potter books. How am I missing an (apparent) nerd reference?

    3. Phil*

      The founder of the nonprofit I work for is one of those people, and it makes her an incredibly successful fundraiser. If your vision is an optimistic one, having a “don’t say it can’t be done attitude” can be an asset, from a certain view.

    4. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      Yep. Had that happen to me once. He even lied and said his director said his expenses would be paid despite the fact that nothing was being paid (new accounting system transition). I kept telling him No and he then finally tore a strip off of me about how I would one day understand how important and valuable he was.

      His director was informed and he was told to back the hell off, what he was doing was entering the harassment zone, he had no standing in his request and he was removed from my list of responsibilities. A most satisfying conclusion.

  7. Abogado Avocado*

    I work for a local government whose public health department is vaccinating citizens and I assure you that, under our rules, if your entitled boss somehow gets a vaccination appointment and shows up for that appointment, he will be turned away if he cannot prove he is in groups 1a, 1b, or 1c. Now, it’s possible that, in your jurisdiction, nobody is being that stringent. However, I live in a state whose leadership has been especially belligerent about mask-wearing and avoiding large group gatherings, so we are one of the top states for COVID cases and deaths. As a result, the local health departments are bearing the burden of coordinating care, treatment, and vaccinating. And, as a result, these departments are being very strict about taking the most-vulnerable first — and the media is shaming those who are trying to jump in line.

    1. Abogado Avocado*

      Just want to clarify: our state leaders oppose mask wearing and efforts to shut down gatherings. And we are vaccinating the vulnerable without regard to proof of citizenship.

    2. Coenobita*

      I’m a medical reserve corps volunteer assisting with vaccinations at my local health department and – same. We have a lot of checks to make sure we are complying with the priority group guidance (and also to make sure we know who gets the vaccine, e.g. for adverse event reporting purposes). Yesterday we vaccinated about 900 teachers and other education personnel (yay!) and only had one really belligerent guy who wanted to jump the line so that was pretty good, I think. But I am SO GLAD that I am not answering the phones at the public health office right now. I can’t even imagine.

      1. Ana Gram*

        I got my vaccine from an MRC volunteer nurse a few weeks ago (I’m an EMT). Thank you for what you’re doing! And, if your site was anything like mine, thanks for sitting in a freezing warehouse all day!

  8. ENFP in Texas*

    “I’m sorry, I’m unable to find anyone who is willing to violate the state guidelines for you.”

    I’m sorry you have to deal with this, OP. I hope you are able to stand firm.

    1. MJ*

      “I’m sorry, I’m unable to find anyone who is willing to violate the state guidelines for you so I’m going higher. I’m on hold with the State Rep’s/Senator’s office to see how to get CEO to bypass the queue.”

      (Be on the phone but don’t actually be on phone to…)

      ◔ ⌣ ◔

  9. Yennefer of Vengerberg*

    If I were in your shoes, I would probably just tell them I called and they said no again (for all the reasons you outlined) – without actually calling. Repeat ad infinitum until they drop it. They have no way of validating you actually made that call. Plus, since they’re attempting to do something extremely unethical, I doubt they have much room to push it.

    1. CRM*

      I agree 100%. I think this is one of the very few instances in which I would advocate lying at work. Good luck getting out of this place, OP!

      Also, hello fellow Witcher fan!

    2. Istanzia*

      If the OP is not working from home, they can probably look at the office phone bill and see if she called… I would be tempted to call a bunch of times and hang up immediately, then say ‘I kept calling, but I kept getting a busy signal so I had to hang up’. Yeah, pretty maddening for the person on the other end getting one-ring phone calls, but still…

      1. Ana Gram*

        I’d figure out how to loop in a phone directory for a minute or two and do that a couple times a day. That way, you have the records and you’re not harassing anyone.

      2. Salymander*

        I once made a call of this type. It was a different issue, but same entitled boss vs. decent folks type of situation. We were in a small office, so checking outgoing calls was not too difficult for him to do. He spent about 45 minutes going over the numbers, but as I had repeatedly called the agency he asked me to call, he couldn’t prove that I hadn’t done what he told me to. Of course, after the first call (and their absolute, inarguable “NO!”), I just said hello and politely asked to be put on hold for a few minutes. The folks on the other end of the line laughed, but did put me on hold. I think they suspected what was up. Wasn’t on hold very long as I didn’t want to tie up their phones, but long enough to fool my boss. He eventually stopped trying to cheat the system, and I left a couple of months later without him ever realizing what I had done.

    3. introverted af*

      I mean, if you’re supposed to be making those calls on company phones and company time, they could verify if a call went out to the right number from your line. It seems like it would be a huge hassle and they’d be very unlikely to check, but I think it’s dangerous to assume that your employer can’t track your activity if they want to. The CEO’s and VP of HR’s unethical behavior wouldn’t make what you’re suggesting somehow not a lie that could backfire.
      That definitely doesn’t mean OP should actually call and bog down the system! But if at all possible, they should not do so while being honest about it.

      1. Observer*

        if you’re supposed to be making those calls on company phones and company time, they could verify if a call went out to the right number from your line. It seems like it would be a huge hassle and they’d be very unlikely to check,

        With a good phone system, it’s actually quite easy. So, yeah, don’t make any assumptions.

    4. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      Unfortunately, I think that the proper choices are either to openly push back against this unethical request or to follow orders as given. If you start to lie, you put yourself in a bad spot.

      Now, do you have to follow through by giving it your best? Do you have to employ charm, ingenuity, or self-determination in following those orders? Hell no. This is where malicious compliance is your friend.

      You can ask the person on the line in the most utterly deadpan, emotionless tone, using exactly the script the VP gave you. You can report back to the VP, after every phone call, by email, with a full transcript of what was said, and ask for further instructions.

    5. Empress Matilda*

      Yep, this. Some scripts you could use:

      “I called, the lines were too busy and no one picked up. I’ll try again later.”
      “I called, they said no, and they also said not to call again. Sorry!”
      “I called, and they said they would look into it and get back to us. I’ll keep you posted.”
      “I called, and there’s a waiting list of infinity, so I put your name on the list. They’ll let us know.”
      “I called, and they said they could only talk to you directly because HIPPA. Here’s the number for you to call.”

      Obviously you’re not actually making the calls. But pretending you are, is the path of least resistance – hopefully it will get him to stop bugging you, and you don’t actually have to do anything unethical. (Not to mention wasting the time of the poor person on the other end of the line, who likely has a million other things to do!)

      Good luck! I know you know this already, but your boss is a complete tool. I hope he gets everything he deserves in life.

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        “I called, they said if I call again they’ll go to the news about the CEO who keeps trying to jump the line.”

        And then if CEO wants you to call again, time for an anonymous tip to your local news.

    6. Anonymous Hippo*

      I would to, but I generally take a more broadminded view to lying than a lot of other people.

  10. warmeverythingbagel*

    I would be very tempted to tell this man “The hospital told me there’s nothing they can do. You’re welcome to call them yourself!” with the biggest smile. If he is so pressed to get the vaccine, he can make an ass of himself; he doesn’t need to rope in you!

    1. juliebulie*

      Yes, you could add “I don’t seem to have much clout with the vaccination people. Maybe you’d have more luck if you called them yourself.”

      (Adding, if you want to lose your job, “Tell them how important you are. I’m sure that would change their minds.”)

    2. boop the first*

      That must certainly be a thing, after all. They’re not going to just tell any random person about somebody’s medical status, are they? ;) Does the CEO accept calls from applicants’ parents? I have doubt!

    3. Data Ana*

      YES! I’d also like to say, “Sorry, can you explain why you think an exception should be made, given that you’re not a healthcare worker or over 65? Just trying to understand.”

  11. Mellow Yellow*

    On top of all the ethical and moral ickiness of this request, how on earth do they expect the OP to get around the state’s rules after being told no? Do they actually think “call again and keep pushing” will accomplish something? Sorry but I hate being handed literally impossible tasks and being told to make them happen anyway. You can’t succeed at your job if the people above you expect you to be a miracle worker and that’s a terrible spot to be in.

    1. Properlike*

      Don’t you understand, the CEO has staff precisely so they don’t have to think about those icky little details! /s/

    2. Colleague’s Dog’s Viking Funeral*

      Tell him to go there with his resume and don’t take no for an answer.

    3. Luke G*

      Yes. There’s a class of people whose jobs largely consist of negotiation in its various forms. “No” seldom means “no” for them in these jobs- it really means “not unless you can offer me more, or cheaper, or throw in something extra.” These jobs aren’t inherently scummy or anything but the people who excel in them end up with the mindset that if you fail to get what you wanted it just means that you didn’t try hard enough, talk fast enough, get creative or persistent enough in your negotiating to change the “no” to a “yes.”

      1. Paulina*

        If they thought the LW was one of these people and had the power to insist that magic happen, wouldn’t the LW have a much higher-level job? Hopefully soon a new job, magic or not! But if these higher-level people have Mad Negotiating Skilz (TM) then they should use them themselves.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          Exactly. Those Mad Skilz at negotiation are what the bosses are paid for, not their assistants. The VP knows damned well it can’t be done so is setting up LW for failure to do what was promised but can’t be done.

          Because the actual Mad Skilz that got them where they are include redirecting blame for overpromising and underdelivering.

      2. Jackalope*

        I dated someone like this once. Argh! When I was breaking up with him he pulled out all the stops and didn’t understand that I was done and couldn’t be talked out of it. My favorite was when I told him my feelings for him had changed and he said he didn’t agree. Um, seriously, dude? My feelings aren’t a democracy. If he had his heart set on the vaccine I could totally see him doing something like this.

      3. meyer lemon*

        The person I would be more inclined to negotiate with is the VP.
        “I made the call and they told me that only healthcare workers and people over 65 are eligible.”
        “Don’t take no for an answer! Keep calling!”
        “Are you saying that I should keep calling the hospital to ask them for something they aren’t allowed to do?”
        “They just tell you that, but if you’re persistent they’ll make an exception.”
        “Is there a reason why they would make an exception for the CEO? If he is part of a high-risk group I can provide them that information.”

        The VP obviously realizes that this task is pointless and embarrassing, which is why they thoughtfully passed it along to the OP. It’s possible that returning some of the awkwardness to sender will inspire them to give up on it, to avoid wasting the hospital’s time any more.

        1. Observer*

          t’s possible that returning some of the awkwardness to sender will inspire them to give up on it, to avoid wasting the hospital’s time any more.

          I see no reason to believe that the VP would be in the least bit concerned about wasting the Hospital’s time.

      4. Observer*

        the people who excel in them end up with the mindset that if you fail to get what you wanted it just means that you didn’t try hard enough, talk fast enough, get creative or persistent enough in your negotiating to change the “no” to a “yes.”

        That’s actually not true. The ones who are REALLY good at this have a really really good sense of where to concentrate their efforts. They tend to develop a lot of skill in making a solid assessment of whether this is someone they can negotiate with or not. Part of the reason for their high success rate is because they essentially “cherry pick” negotiations. They don’t negotiate with all comers, but with people they think they can succeed with. And they know the difference!

        1. Massmatt*

          I agree for the most part; good negotiators know how to choose their battles and allocate their time. But in this case, the CEO isn’t spending any time on it, he has foisted it off to an HR manager, who has in turn foisted it off on the OP. Both people further up the chain realize this most likely fruitless endeavor is not worth THEIR time, but are OK with an underling spending time on it.

      5. Luke G*

        The people with this kind of skill set who are self aware and good coworkers, understand things like “not every situation calls for this” and “not every worker is good at this.” The ones who LACK self awareness seem to think “if I can do my job by fast talking and never taking no for an answer, that must mean everyone can do every job by fast talking and never taking no for an answer.”

    4. Malarkey01*

      This is exactly what I don’t get. CEO is garbage, but he’s also kind of dumb. The way to get a vaccine isn’t by having an HR person randomly calling hospitals or health departments. There are unfortunately levers that people can pull, but HR calling isn’t one of them. So weird

    5. Observer*

      Sorry but I hate being handed literally impossible tasks and being told to make them happen anyway. You can’t succeed at your job if the people above you expect you to be a miracle worker and that’s a terrible spot to be in.

      That’s why my first suggestion to the OP was to start looking for a new job. (They are doing that and I wish them luck!)

  12. natter*

    I’m almost more annoyed at the VP. The CEO is being an entitled brat, but the VP’s apparent complicity is how that entitlement got pushed on to a rank and file employee.

    There’s something about taking the pay and prestige of that level of work, and then being a total coward about hard conversations, that makes my blood boil.

  13. cmcinnyc*

    Pick up the phone or email from a personal account (not work) and report this to your state health department.

    1. Jean*

      I’m on this train too. Out him to the authorities (and the media) now, and skip calling the hospital and wasting those people’s time. They have way more important things to do than say no to the same person over and over. And your CEO needs to be served an extra large slice of humble pie.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        The thing is there probably is only a very few people who know that he is asking. If the OP outs him it could put them in jeopardy of losing their job.

    2. Malarkey01*

      Not exactly sure what you’d report though- pharmacies, doctors, hospitals- they are all being flooded by requests to get the vaccine and asking to be added to lists. The information is such a patchwork and there are people legitimately getting it ahead of the normal priorities so asking to be put on a list isn’t violating anything and health departments have a million things to do and don’t need reporting that Bob wants a shot earlier.

  14. HRBee*

    Also HR, also tasked with trying to get on the vaccine list. At least for us, we’re food workers and in phase 1B, and thankfully, the CEO wants me to get our entire company on the list, not just him.

    Our local health department *JUST* received their first doses last week and all went to health care workers and long-term care residents/workers. This week’s doses are going to other first responders (police, fire, EMS, etc). Haven’t even come close to the over 65 group so I don’t expect we’ll get down to 1B anytime soon.

  15. Richard Hershberger*

    What do CEO and VP think the LW can do? Get on the phone and shout long enough and loudly enough to get what they want. The kernel of truth is that sometimes to get results you have to push beyond the bounds of ordinary politeness. The error is to conclude therefore that anything can be had, if you are rude enough about it. I also suspect that CEO has some success with this strategy: he is willing to be rude to the staff until he gets what he wants.

    What really gets me about this guy is the delegation. If he thinks he can get what he wants by being insufferable, he at least should take on the insufferableness himself. If he was on the Titanic, he would send a lackey to put on women’s clothes to get a place on the lifeboat, then would take that place himself.

    Alison, it is early, but I think we have a candidate for Worst Boss.

    1. A Poster Has No Name*

      Definitely an early worst boss candidate.

      Guaranteed that this guy is an entitled ass in other ways, too.

    2. mf*

      I wonder if the OP is an admin assistant or EA? I was an EA for years, and this is a common attitude that execs have towards their assistants: they think their assistant can move mountains by just making a few phone calls. They often don’t really understand what things are in the EA’s power to make happen. (I suspect this is because most of these execs have never in their lives worked a low-level support job.)

  16. MsMaryMary*

    Hi OP, if you want backup for your conversation with the VP of HR and/or the CEO, reach out to your employee benefits consultant (broker) or insurance carrier contact. They likely have documentation on vaccine availability and the process. Sometimes it helps to have an “expert” opinion. You could probably get them involved in a conversation with the VP of HR or CEO if you want. It will also help you show that you tried to access. additional resources and the request is unreasonable.

    I agree with everyone else that your VP of HR and CEO suck.

  17. Alex*

    So much gross in this letter. Not only does the CEO think he is entitled to the vaccine for no reason other than he wants it and thinks him being rich should make a difference, he also thinks that people in HR are his own personal assistants who should spend their work time procuring personal favors for him.

    Obviously his thinking he deserves a vaccine is worse, but both are bad. What is is LW having to do for this guy? Wipe his butt?

  18. Lora*

    My sister who works for a large hospital doing medical coding and billing from home just got her vaccine yesterday. I am happy she got one but she is 58 and healthy. Not sure if this is how its supposed to work. My mother and father, 79 and 80, have not gotten one yet.

    1. Blue*

      I totally understand the frustration, but there have also been reports of places that are being extremely stringent about the order of rollout but without enough logistical and outreach support, and it’s leading to vaccines spoiling. There’s definitely no perfect way to do it, especially given the tremendous dearth of leadership. :/

      1. WellRed*

        Agreed, I’d rather see people get vaccinated then doses wasted. There’s also reports of people (including health workers) no-showing or changing their minds about receiving it, too. If you’ve got the dose ready to go, use it!

        1. HCW*

          A lot of healthcare workers are getting mandated to work overtime / double shifts, which can lead to no-showing appointments. Other barriers include being directed not to get the vaccine at the same time as our immediate coworkers or being instructed only to take it immediately prior to at least 2 consecutive days off due to the risk of being temporarily out of commission (either due to subjective symptom severity or due to being unable to pass facility entrance screenings) from the side effects of the vaccine. Although some HCWs have refused, it’s also a bit more complicated than that for many.

    2. Honoria, Dowager Duchess of Denver*

      I can see this though – yes she is not patient facing, but that kind of thing keeps hospitals functioning if she were to pick up the virus elsewhere. My mum works for a department in a hospital that deals with sourcing and storing goods (including PPE) and she got vaccinated because it’s a small team and they can’t take the risk of 1-2 people being off for weeks and risking the PPE pipeline.

    3. Double A*

      We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good in this vaccine roll out, and in fact, overly strict guidelines seem to be one of the issues with the slow roll out. Frankly if we just started with vaccinating every worker and patient in a hospital building, I think that would be a good start.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I work remotely for a large hospital system. So far our powers that be have asked that people who are not patient-facing wait while those who are get first dibs on vaccine availability, but if they tell me that it’s my turn to register for a vaccine appointment, I’m not gonna tell them no.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Your sister uses the same building & facilities as patients at risk & first responders –probably even the same cafeteria & bathrooms as those who do we or with patients, at least the same ventilation system. So an early vaccination isn’t totally unreasonable in my book.

    6. 134232*

      Your sister got a vaccine! You should be happy for her, instead of nurturing resentment. If your parents are having trouble getting vaccines, maybe your sister can help.

      1. Lizzo*

        +1. I don’t understand the resentment. Spend that energy doing research and advocacy on behalf of your parents.

    7. Malarkey01*

      We need to get around 200 million people vaccinated as fast as possible. With two doses, if we did 2 million shots a day it would still take 8 months to do this. We need to get away from did Bob deserve this over Sue or should we wait until all the Bobs get it or why is Sue called before Jane. Putting yourself on a list is wrong, but if a health department, hospital, authority, etc says we’re doing this group of people and then moving on, we need to not spend time separating out who has more need.

  19. learnedthehardway*

    Worst case scenario – report back that you made the call and didn’t get anywhere, and that the health authority said he would get his appointment when they get to him, and that they “weren’t impressed” by the call….

  20. Satisfactory Worker*

    I work for a local government and our health department has been bombarded with calls from people who aren’t eligible. This gets in the way of their actual work right now. I would tell your boss that you called and were told to stop asking because the CEO isn’t an eligible category right now.

  21. Kali*

    I have a friend who works in an admin role for the covid vaccination teams (in the UK). She says that, if they have leftover vaccines about to expire, they’re offered to the admin staff so as not to waste them. I can’t prove this – I believe her because she’s my friend, but obviously none of you know her or me – but it does make sense there might be some waste. You don’t want to schedule more appointments than you have vaccines, because you can’t have people turning up and being sent away and having to come back. On the other hand, if you schedule exactly the right amount of appointments, some people are going to have transport problems, or will have had to go into hospital or have other health issues, or even, heaven forfend, died by then, especially since the vulnerable are being prioritised. So my advice to the boss would be, volunteer and hope someone has transport problems. He gets vaccinated, the vaccination process has more hands on deck and goes smoothly, he doesn’t grossly oversteps the bounds of reasonable requests, everyone wins.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Mate, speaking from a fairly good background in this stuff: no.

      Covid vaccines are being used as fast as they can be produced and shipped. The only ones ‘expiring’ are those stored improperly (like room temperature) and those are immediately discarded.

      Nobody is getting expired Covid vaccines. We schedule the right number of appointments for the doses we have and if someone doesn’t come in the dose isn’t removed from storage and can last quite a while.

      Again, nobody is being offered expired vaccines.

      1. Kali*

        I didn’t say anyone was being offered expired vaccines. My friend told me that she and other admin members can be vaccinated if vaccines are out of storage and cannot be offered to patients before they expire for whatever reason.

        It’s completely possible I’ve got the wrong end of the stick there. That’s why I made it very clear that the info’s third hand and not verifiable. I’m not making any serious suggestions.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Apologies, I came off quite strident there.

          Covid, vaccines, jumping the lines for them etc. All very sensitive topics for me (I don’t agree with any method for these rich important people to jump the line. At all) so, think I’ll stop here. :)

          1. Kali*

            It’s okay, I think it’s an emotional topic for all of us.

            I could have fact-checked better to make sure my ideas and terms were more accurate, but I’m not really sure how. Googling wasn’t helpful, and my friend’s going through some emotional stuff right now and there weren’t any good moments to press her for details. Hopefully, we’ll get some good info from people correcting me or expanding on my misunderstandings, as has already happened a bit. I’m finding that quite interesting.

        2. Unfettered scientist*

          No, I’ve also read in the news that sometimes doses will have to be tossed before the next day and to avoid that they have been given out to staff or walk-ins that don’t necessarily meet criteria for Phase 1. There are also a lot of places in the US where distribution is so disorganized that there are doses that are not being used as fast as they are produced and shipped. Putting vaccine into arms is definitely a hurtle many areas, esp rural, are still trying to overcome.

          1. President Porpoise*

            Maybe the answer is to start calling more rural hospitals. “Hospital XYZ in Wyoming has some available doses, but you’ll need to get there by 5PM!”.

            It might work either to get him a vaccine or to get him off your back.

        3. TPO*

          Kali, I believe that this is a thing! My source is someone who works as a medical receptionist. She says that staff are offered near-the-use-by date vaccinations (flu, etc) so as not to waste the batch, and that most of them gladly take up the offer. I can’t speak of the corona, but I absolutely believe what your friend said.

        4. Persistence*

          Kali’s information is hardly third-hand anecdotes. There have been multiple media reports about this practice.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        I think it means that a bottle with multiple doses has been opened and they need to use all those doses and can’t save it for the next day. I have heard of that happening. Even if you schedule the exact right number of appointments there may be some no shows.

        1. ENFP in Texas*

          This. I volunteered at a mass vax clinic hosted by our county health department and the email SPECIFICALLY said that volunteering did not guarantee you would get a vaccine.

          At the end of the clinic there were a handful of shots left due to no-shows, so some volunteers were able to get vaccinated since the vaccine had to be used or it would have to be discarded.

        2. Bilateralrope*

          There have been cases of the bottles containing more doses than they say on the label. So they can schedule the exact number of appointments they were told they would have doses for, have them all turn up, and still have spares that need to be used or discarded.

          1. Cat Tree*

            I work in vaccine manufacturing, specifically in filling vials (not a Covid vaccine though). Vials are always overfilled to ensure that the correct dose can be given to the patient. If someone needs 1 mL, you can’t put exactly that into a vial and expect the pharmacist to withdraw it all into the syringe because there will be some residue left behind. It’s also to account for machine variability since dose isn’t checked on every single vial on most filling lines (although some newer ones have high-speed in-line weight checks).

            Anyway, it’s always a balance between getting more doses to patients while ensuring that every single vial contains the full doses they are expecting. Projects to reduce overfill require tons of data and time. So it’s not surprising that multi-dose vials sometimes have enough to get an extra dose, because the alternative is risking not enough doses. In those cases the extra dose should go to literally anyone rather than be discarded.

        3. meyer lemon*

          I think it is also sometimes the case that the bottle has an extra dose, so an extra person might be able to be vaccinated. I can’t speak to the procedure for who gets the dose, though. (In Canada, we’re prioritizing long-term care residents, so logistically it is probably easier to find an extra person in the facility who wants a vaccine.)

      3. Doing the best we can*

        Vaccines do have a shelf-life and will expire a specific number of hours after thawing.

        The vaccines vials also contain a minimum dose. Due to the variation in the manufacturing process and to ensure all bottle have at least that many doses, all vials have an overage amount. Frequently that amount is enough for an “extra” dose or two. In the US (and hopefully elsewhere) providers are allowed to use this overage to give additional vaccinations. Then add people not showing up or whatever, many clinics end up with some vaccine at the end of the shelf-life that is about to expire and will become unusable. If they have already administered to vaccines to everyone in the priority group then in those situations most states are mandating that vaccine be given to someone rather than be wasted and thrown out.

        1. Green great dragon*

          Yep – there was a (UK) news item that said some extra-efficient syringe designs were getting 6 or 7 doses out a 5 dose vial.

      4. sofar*

        My friend is a pharmacist and he confirmed that they are indeed giving out doses to people who happen to to be in the store if doses are about to expire. Mostly this happens when people who have scheduled appointments don’t show. There have been several news articles on this very thing.

        LW should tell her CEO that he should go lurk at CVS near the pharmacy closing time. Actually, no, maybe not — the last thing those overworked pharmacists need is her CEO lurking about (or sending his assistant to lurk about).

        1. Blackcat*

          “LW should tell her CEO that he should go lurk at CVS near the pharmacy closing time.”
          I actually think this is the best advice. It *might* work for the CEO. It’s reasonable advice for someone who is desperate for a vaccine.
          But the CEO won’t do it!

          1. Massmatt*

            If someone is “desperate for a vaccine” they are most likely ill, elderly, or both. Having them hang around a pharmacy with a disproportionate number of sick people is a bad idea.

      5. Seeking Second Childhood*

        There have already been reported cases where a random passerby has been offered the opportunity to be vaccinated because the facility was about to close for the day.
        This was most common at the start, because the vials turn out to have more vaccine than originally stated—apparently everyone’s being so careful there is less accidental wastage than with common vaccines.

      6. Observer*

        That’s not entirely true. Part of the problem is that these things come in multi does vials so you cannot always take out the EXACT number of doses. And in placed where you want to have multiple vaccinations going on at the same time, the issue is compounded.

        The better run vaccination programs have ways to deal with this, but one of the things that has been done is allowing people who would normally not be on the priority list to take the vaccine if there are doses available this way. On the other hand, in New York State, there have been documented cases of doses being discarded because they were not going to be able to get eligible people in, before the doses go bad and it’s a $1 MILLION fine for giving the shot to people who have not proven they are in the correct priority group, regardless of the reason they place is doing this.

      7. Anna Vine*

        A pal of mine (works on the the admin side of the vaccine roll out for an NHS Trust up in Scotland) actually did get her first dose this way! Imagine it’s not super common, but it is happening. I have no problem with that btw, if they’re going to be wasted, give them to whoever!

    2. Nonny-nonny-non*

      Yup, I have a cousin who is actually one of the nurses administering the vaccine in the UK. She’s had days when they’ve got an extra couple of doses with just an hour of ‘life’ left because people haven’t been able to attend their appointment reason. She says that if they can’t get a correct priority person there in time they will give them to anyone they can find who hasn’t yet had a dose.

      1. BubbleTea*

        I have lost track of which vaccine is being used in the USA, but the first one used in the UK was the one that had to be stored at -80°C and could be kept in a fridge for a maximum of 3.5 days or something. It makes perfect sense to make use of any doses on day four to vaccinate whoever happens to be around, instead of wasting them, and I believe this is actually part of the official UK rollout policy.

        1. Nonny-nonny-non*

          Not only that, but she said it gets supplied in containers that hold 12 doses. Once a container is removed they have (if I recall correctly) 6 hours to get those 12 doses into individual syringes and then into people. No-one wants to have to throw out a perfectly good dose if it can possibly be used on somebody.

          1. Persistence*

            “No-one wants to have to throw out a perfectly good dose if it can possibly be used on somebody.”

            No one except the governor of New York, who followed exactly this policy until he was forced to back down after getting pilloried in the press.

        2. TL -*

          That’s the Pfizer vaccine, which is being used in the USA along with the Moderna vaccine (which needs cold storage but not -80C storage.)

      2. Buni*

        I got a phone call late Sunday evening that was basically “If you can get here in half an hour with proof that you’re High Risk you can have a leftover”. So yes it was a case of ‘who you know’, but I still had to prove I was in the ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ category (I am, obvs).

        My official call-up arrived this morning, so I ‘skipped the line’ by ~3 days at most, but I still feel bad about it. One of the things I’ve liked about the NHS compared to a few reports I’ve seen (from a variety of other countries) is that there’s no question / likelihood of anyone ‘buying’ their way in.

    3. Paulina*

      Whether this happens in their local system or not, it doesn’t sound like this CEO is the type to show up and wait to see if there’s vaccine left over, and, if he did try this and failed, he does sound like the type to take the lack of success (and what he would consider wasting his time) out on the person who suggested it (the LW).

    4. Femme d'Afrique*

      There was an article about this on the BBC website. It seems to have happened in Dublin and the health minister apologised and said it shouldn’t have happened.

      Link to follow in next comment, but basically some “leftover” vaccines were given to relatives of staff at a hospital.

    5. Robin Sparkles*

      I work in a hospital and exactly correct -there are more no-shows than expected. Once thawed- the vaccine cannot be put back in a freezer. After it thaws, it can be prepared. And once prepared it must be used within a few hours. We have definitely had vaccines left over and you better believe the hospital is going to find staff to give it to rather than throw them out. We also have phases – like most other commenters- with direct patient care first – they had 6 weeks to get their vaccines and now we are providing vaccines to people who go into the hospital in patient areas occasionally. People who are getting up in arms over people jumping the line have no idea how complicated it is to ignore the previous suggested phases and now move towards age range. There is no good way to monitor who is getting what and when. The ideal model is to get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible- the restrictions and prioritizations are making it much more difficult to manage without a proper national plan and roll-out.

  22. TootsNYC*

    I’d be so tempted to make those calls and just be really open, blithely so:
    “I’m calling on behalf of Joe Schmoe, who is the CEO of XYZ Company. I’ve been asked to see if he can be placed on a vaccination list at the earliest opportunity. He’s in his 40s, and he’s not a health care worker, but he is the CEO of our company, and he asked us in the company HR department to find a way that he can be placed on a vaccination list ahead of health care workers and citizens over 65.”

    My only fear is that I might get someone who would actually do it.

    This reminds me a bit of Miranda Priestly ordering Andy to get an advance copy of a Harry Potter book that hadn’t been released–maybe not even been written–yet.

    1. irene adler*

      That’d be my move.
      (boss didn’t tell me to lie or misrepresent the situation, so why not?)

      The nerve.

    2. mf*

      This is actually not a bad idea. After all, you’re only telling the truth. The likeliest scenario is that the scheduler will tell you to eff off, which frees you to go back to your boss and relay that message (in more polite language).

  23. Healthcare Worker*

    Encourage the CEO to contact his personal physician. If he has comorbidities that make him at higher risk (unlikely!) his physician will be able to put him on a priority list if appropriate. I would push back to HR saying you don’t need to know information about his health status per HIPAA.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      In my area, I rate Phase 2 due to comorbidities. We are currently moving from Phase 1A to 1B, to be followed by 1C. I’m not calling anybody. I can read a website.

      1. LMB*

        Exactly this. I know Phase 1 people who are able to receive the vaccine now, and have chosen not to receive it (mostly conspiracy theorists, unfortunately), and while a small part of me would love to say “Can I have yours, then?”, the larger part of me that actually has a conscience knows that because of the limited supply, for every Phase 1 person who declines, there are STILL those who need it much more than me. So I sit my ass down, keep my mouth shut, and hope that production/supply will start to ramp up in the coming weeks so we can get to the next phases faster…

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        It does in terms of CEO’s doctor, who would be the person getting him into the priority list for co-morbities.

    2. mf*

      HIPAA doesn’t apply in non-healthcare settings. But still, the OP can play coy and say that it wouldn’t be appropriate for him/her to have access to the CEO’s private medical info.

    3. Me*

      This is not true in my state and I doubt any state. There is no special priority list and no physician can recommend anyone jump the line. We will get to the group that has comorbidities and they will have to provide documentation.

      Most everyone is doing 1a – healthcare/first responders
      1b – 75+
      1C – 65+
      2 – comorbidities

  24. CatCat*

    When the task was given to me, I was told that they wanted me to call because they didn’t want it to seem like a rich CEO was trying to cut his way to the front of the line.

    I really don’t understand their logic here. It’s not like OP is calling on behalf of someone else. It is for the CEO to try and skip the line. I’m baffled at how they’re expecting OP to hide who this vaccine is for. If CEO wants to work on these nefarious shenanigans, it seems totally bizarro to me to think having an employee call from the company on CEO’s behalf is somehow clever and sneaky. It is not.

    If I were OP, I’d place the call and just ask, “I’m calling from X Company. Who is eligible to receive the vaccine at this time?” Then report back that “Sorry, the hospital said only 65 and older and health care workers are eligible right now.”

    I’d drop in the name of the company so the hospital can complain to the company if they want about all the calls.

  25. irene adler*

    FYI: my boss, the 69-year-old CEO (with underlying health issues), DOES qualify for receiving the vaccine (in CA). Only, he can’t schedule the appointment to receive it because they are out. He’s been told to keep trying.

    (Yeah, he’s doing his own scheduling. This is not something he’d ever “hand off” to anyone else. )

    1. Person from the Resume*

      That’s the other thing! This isn’t the LW’s job.

      Scheduling a medical appointment like this could be the job of a personal assistance or maybe a secretary. This should not be in the duties of random HR guy to schedule private medical appointments for other people even the CEO.

  26. Massmatt*

    I’m amazed at the cognitive disconnect required for the CEO realizing the bad publicity that would result from their trying to push to the head of the line and… orders an underling to push them to the head of the line. This is grossly sleazy behavior and I hope it becomes public and the CEO gets named and shamed.

    I remember many years ago a security expert was on Nightline with Ted Koppel talking about the Unibomber, who was mailing bombs to random people. He illustrated his point with an example–HE had received a suspicious package just a few weeks ago. What did he do? He had his secretary open it! Koppel had a field day.

  27. Firecat*

    OP I recommend that you call them as requested so you can say you did – and just say hey I’m calling because our CEO wants me to push for the vaccine early for him. He’s 40 and healthy. Sorry I have to keep calling. That way you are laying out the awkward and not having to shoulder it.

  28. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    What an idiot!

    Full disclosure, I am also currently helping someone jump the line- a friend who recently moved to my state. But she has cancer, doesn’t know how vaccines will roll out here, and is unlikely to survive COVID and/or medical rationing if it came to that, because she’s unlikely to live five more years.

    Unless your boss has a similar serious medical condition, he’s being peak jerk and putting others at risk.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I don’t see this as the same situation as OP has… Your friend does have an underlying medical condition. You’re just helping your friend find the correct place in a new line after the move. Good luck to both of you!

  29. AlexandrinaVictoria*

    What a scum bucket. My brother is an ER doctor and hasn’t been able to get his yet. I haven’t been anywhere since March 21 other than a doctor’s office because I’m severely immune compromised and mine is months away. This whole pandemic has really outed the a-holes in our society.

  30. BradC*

    My only idea would be to see if you can determine when the CEO *might* be eligible (“phase 3, which is expected to begin on…”). Might go down easier than just a “no”.

    1. An on*

      Great idea! Then phrase it as “I called, talked to a lot of people, and they said they were willing to squeeze him in at [proper place] about X weeks from now. It’s the soonest possible date, they are doing us a favor moving him up that far”

    2. Me*

      I deal with the vaccinations for my job. Unfortunately you are very unlikely to be able to get even an estimated date at this point for the group he would fall under aka normal people. In my state we have a date up through 1c. It’s going to take us weeks to get through the demand for 1b let alone 1 c. Normal people aren’t even on our radar yet.

      1. BradC*

        Yeah, I was afraid that might be the case.
        Maybe the best OP could determine would be something like “CEO would be part of group 2b, which doesn’t yet have an estimated date of availability. I will continue to monitor and let you know when those dates are announced.”

    3. Emilia Bedelia*

      I like this line of thinking. In my state, NJ, you can preregister for the vaccine. I am under 30, no health conditions, work from home, and live alone, so I am basically back of the line for the vaccine. However, I was able to register and get my name on the list for when my priority group is up.
      If OP’s state has a similar option, OP could offer to sign up the CEO for the vaccine list, and reassure him that based on everyone OP talked to, that list will of course get him the vaccine at the soonest possible date based on the state restrictions.

  31. StephThePM*

    I agree with everyone else’s commentary. A possible angle for the LW to pursue, if she’s exhausts her pushback and isn’t able to burn it down, is to change her questioning or research to whether there are “on call so no waste” slots that your otherwise ineligible CEO can sign up to be on. Or, quote Fauci on upcoming anticipated additional vaccines from AZ and J&J – “anticipate more information in a few weeks.”

  32. yllis*

    I think too many bosses have seen The Devil Wears Prada too many times and have taken it as some sort of learning tool.

  33. Sacred Ground*

    If the state is only giving it to the elderly and health care workers, that’s that. I’d think that any attempt to bypass this would be fraudulent and illegal.

    Maybe ask your bosses *in an email* some more questions like: which specific fraudulent claim do they want you to make, his age or his employment status? Should you just falsify his age on the application, or will this require an entire false identity? Or should she somehow get him a fake job as a front line health care worker? Do they have any contacts in a hospital or nursing home that would put him on their payroll for a few days? Will the CEO need false credentials to do this or will the false employer handle that?

    Or simply ask them to confirm or clarify their direction to find a way for him to jump the line ahead of the elderly and health care providers. In an email. CC other board members. Feign confusion. You don’t know how this can be legally done so you’re asking for help.

    Do this in writing and either you will never hear anything about it again or you’ll be fired. So maybe *don’t* do this.

    I don’t know. Maybe just creating a document that shows they gave the direction to try to bypass the state will be enough to protect you if they retaliate. They know full well what it looks like, because it IS exactly what it looks like. They know it’s embarrassing to their own names and the company if it gets out that they’re trying this. Maybe seeing it put to words in an email (that you’ve saved, of course) will show them their potential liability. Or maybe simply shame them into backing off. At any rate, you’d have to write it carefully. It should review what they’ve asked for, what you’ve tried so far, and their further directive to keep trying. You want it to read like you want to help them but are just confused because it doesn’t seem like there is a legal way to do this so do they have any further advice?

    But this might be far too risky an approach depending on your company and situation. You might have to just bite the bullet, keep your head down, and keep making pointless and annoying phone calls until they move on to the next thing. Or you do.

    Damn the situation sucks. That’s bold. Your boss is saying “Commit a crime and don’t make it seem like you’re committing a crime, and if you don’t there’ll be consequences,” basically. I’ve been there.

    1. Sacred Ground*

      Wow, dozens of comments before I’d done writing that. Apologies if others have made the point. Now I’ll go read the rest of the thread.

      I’m kind of overflowing with righteous outrage lately. Between the Pandemic, the Depression, my depression, the Car Bomb Christmas, the Capitol insurrection, and the whole damn country now holding its breath, it’s a lot. Nice to redirect it towards OP’s crappy bosses for a minute.

      Thanks, AAM, for once more helping to keep the peace while fighting the good fight.

  34. employment lawyah*

    FYI: There IS one way he can ethically get a shot: If your state throws vaccines away.

    In those cases, it is possible for people to spend extra time and energy identifying vaccine distribution sites which are most likely to have vaccines left over when they close. Boss can optionally travel there at the right times, let them know, and wait. If all goes well, he gets a shot which would otherwise be trashed

    This harms nobody, so you can do that without fear.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I cannot disagree more strongly that that kind of behaviour harms ‘nobody’.

      The risk of infection from having people wait around in clinics on the off chance they might get a spare vaccination at the end of day…during a time when we’re supposed to not be around other people for a start!

      Please, don’t suggest ways people can jump the line. You’re adding to the workload of an already overstretched and overstressed health service.

      1. Dave*

        I agree that the line waiting in large groups is incredibly frustrating and I wish places would schedule a wait list for in case we have extras.
        I also think this is why some people have gotten the vaccine out of sequence. I know someone whose offspring works at a pharmacy that had leftover doses so they gave them to their parents. Annoying as all get out because you couldn’t find some old person really?

        1. Observer*

          Annoying as all get out because you couldn’t find some old person really?

          Really. Most of the older folks I know are NOT hanging around a pharmacy waiting for the possible chance of getting a vaccine.

          1. Allonge*

            Yes! Also, a random phonecall from Unknown Pharmacy saying get here in 30 minutes, you get vaccinated? I would call the police, sounds like fraud.

      2. Unfettered scientist*

        I agree that if this could be organized a bit better, getting the ‘about to expire’ vaccines is a good way to do it and I’ve heard of people doing exactly this type of thing. I don’t think it necessarily has to harm anyone; that’s coming from a separate policy decision to allow people to wait inside a clinic without prior business there. If you don’t allow people to wait inside, then you can totally do the “call us at the end of the day and we’ll let you know” or “show up at 15 to closing and we’ll let you know” and I’d say that’s definitely a benefit to the general population. Don’t let people sit around inside the clinic, but this is NOT line jumping. Anything that saves doses from being tossed is a good thing.

      3. employment lawyah*

        You seem to think there’s less harm in throwing them out than in preventing vaccines from being tossed? I am confused by that claim.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          I think there’s more harm is encouraging people to gather in public places to see if there’s a chance of maybe getting a vaccine. I’ve seen enough disasters caused by people gathering in one spot.

        2. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

          Keymaster is right. In my urban area, pharmacies gave out a few doses that needed to be used ASAP to people shopping there who were not otherwise eligible for a vaccine in the early days of Phase 1a. It made the media and word got out, so people started to wait in crowds outside of vaccine sites in hopes of getting a vaccine. Security had to be deployed in a few areas to disperse crowds, and pharmacies switched over to wait lists for people who live within 15 minutes of the pharmacy and are willing to go on a moment’s notice. There’s nothing wrong with calling around and trying to get on a wait list like that if possible–I encouraged my parents who are in their 60s but otherwise in good health to call their local pharmacy to see if they have a such wait list so they could potentially move up a little bit (they did not). But many places administering vaccines have already made contingency plans on what to do with leftover doses now, and having people just show up and hope they get lucky causes more stress on overburdened health care providers. Plus crowding is an especially bad idea with these new, more contagious COVID variants going around.

  35. Phil*

    I’m 74 with a serious history of life threatening infections and get my health care from the VA. Normally this is a good thing but the VA has no plan yet on vaccinations. My county-I live in California-may have shots before the VA. Sadly the VA seems to have dropped the ball on this.

    1. Healthcare Worker*

      The VA in my city (Florida) began vaccinations this week! Hoping your turn will come soon.

    2. EnfysNest*

      This must vary from site to site, because the VA where I work is well into the vaccination process and we have been distributing vaccines for both veterans and hospital staff since the end of December. We have a very detailed plan and we have veterans and staff already receiving their second doses. (I’m also in Florida, like Healthcare Worker above.) I hope you are able to get vaccinated soon!

      1. Phil*

        Me too but I talked to them last week and here in Northern California they have no idea when vaccinations will start.

  36. I’m volunteering without expectations*

    In my county, if you volunteer to help administer vaccines you can possibly jump the line to get a shot if there are leftover doses at the end of the day. Perhaps your CEO would be willing to work for his shot. Haha of course he won’t.

    1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

      Wouldn’t that make you a temporary healthcare worker and thus entitle you to be vaccinated anyway?

      1. I’m volunteering without expectations*

        I don’t think that’s the rationale. That’s certainly not why I’m doing it. I just want to help get people vaccinated. I will be doing administrative work. Like checking people in. I suppose if I were giving the shots that might be different but I’m not qualified to give shots.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Unpaid healthcare volunteers may well be eligible, at least per CT’s vaccination info page. “Healthcare Personnel: All paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients of infectious materials.”

          1. Self Employed*

            If they’re volunteering long-term, sure. But if they volunteered for a day or two and then went back to work, obviously the vaccine isn’t going to help them keep safe at the medical volunteer gig.

  37. Retro*

    Is there anywhere that OP can report this behavior? I know OP is HR within their own organization so it seems like reporting it to internal HR is a definite no. But is there some kind of vaccine watchdog organization out there where OP can document that the VP and CEO are asking OP to try to bypass state guidelines (maybe even break the law) on their behalf? I’m thinking worst case scenario, if OP gets let go unfairly, there will be some kind of document trail to back up OP’s story.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I worked for a company that had an ethics hotline. It wasn’t that great, but I did use it a couple times.

    2. Jennifer*

      I don’t think that’s the best idea. It’s going to be obvious either the OP or her boss reported it, which means potential retaliation. I think she should document everything and wait until she has a new job before reporting it.

  38. Sara Bene*

    Many, if not most states, have opened a list for people who want the vaccine to sign up to make an appointment to get it. There’s no charge to get on a list, and no punishment if you sign up from out of state and before you’re eligable, and anyone can sign anyone else up (to cover for people who can’t do email themselves.) It’s a way to keep people from calling 22 times a day.

    So find a couple of those (start with your local health department) and get your CEO on several. They usually send an email confirmation, which you can forward to him.

      1. wendelenn*

        Say, I can’t do that, Matt,
        Do you have a ploy, Roy?
        Can’t jump in the queue, Hugh, just listen to me,
        Don’t throw me under the bus, Gus, don’t need to discuss much,
        And wait, just like me, Lee, I hope we’ll soon see!

  39. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

    OP, this really sucks! I’m sorry.

    You don’t want to be reprimanded or lose your job though.

    I’d suggest the following:
    – make a couple more calls and document them
    – let your boss know that the script you’re using simply isn’t effective and ask for help on how to approach it differently. Imply that they may need to provide some fictitious personal info that you can supply in order to get the CEO an appointment
    – wait for your boss to come up with something that doesn’t involve lying or bullying the hospital staff
    – look expectantly at them while they flounder

    The reason you were given this job is because it’s impossible and they know that. Play dumb and get them to show you exactly how it needs to be done.

  40. cncx*

    as someone who used to work as an assistant in the c suite…I’m annoyed that your CEO thinks getting vaccinated is the equivalent of asking you to hustle and sweet talk the person on the phone at Eleven Madison Park for a reservation that night…no advice here i’m just so annoyed for you OP

  41. Dust Bunny*

    I am also in a state that is currently vaccinating healthcare workers and over-65 only, and as much as I’d have liked to get the vaccine, like, yesterday, I’m not going to try to cut the line. Your CEO is an ass.

    1. MsSolo*

      The things is, if they hadn’t, you know the outraged headline would be “vaccines wasted”. I honestly don’t think it’s a bad thing, especially since people living with hospital staff are a high risk of catching it as a result, and a vector for bringing it into the hospital.

  42. Aepyornis*

    Yuck. Sorry to hear you are working for these people.
    I wouldn’t make any further calls, as this is wasting overworked people’s time as well as yours and that you shouldn’t be placed in the position of being a jerk to the hospital. You can regularly get back to the CEO/VP with the news that you have called and no exceptions are possible, doing it a few times if necessary without mentioning that you aren’t making daily calls and this is isn’t a brand new report.
    But don’t feel that you have any obligation to keep calling. The result won’t change anyway.

  43. Dave*

    So having a boss that likes me to achieve the near impossible I have learned to give him options that are slightly absurd but options. In this case:
    There is one state Florida or AL that will be vaccines to people who are from out of state, but you may still need to be older. So he could drive there and get in line.
    There are people waiting outside of hospitals in case there is left over vaccines for the day that would be wasted so he could stand in one of those lines all day.
    He could get a job at a Pharmacy / Hospital temporarily to get in the system as a health care worker to be in group 1A.
    Basically it is you ask me something incredible stupid and unachievable I will tell you incredibly stupid solutions that are none the less technically solutions.

  44. Observer*

    OP, a few thoughts.

    Start looking for a new job. Your company has just given you some really valuable information about their ethics and willingness to exploit their own staff.

    If you don’t get any useful response from your boss, start calling. Call once a day and document what you are doing. When you call be explicit – “My boss asked me to call and find out if there is any way he can get the vaccine sooner.” Be unfailingly polite, and if your boss tells you that you are not being assertive enough tell them that yelling or being rude will be ineffective. You don’t get favors by being rude to people. That’s not the reason to be polite, but it happens to be true.

    You could also point out to your boss that if they really do not “ want it to seem like a rich CEO was trying to cut his way to the front of the line. ” (despite that being EXACTLY what is happening) doing anything in the least bit rude or nasty is going to blow up in their faces. Again, that’s not the reason to be a decent person to people who are just doing their jobs. But, you are not dealing with people who care about doing the right thing, but just with what “looks good.”

    And, yeah, start planning your exit. It won’t happen overnight unless you get REALLY lucky. But the sooner you start working on it, the sooner you’ll be in a better place.

  45. Crazy4Cats*

    This exact same scenario happened to me. I was 21. 9/11 had just happened. My jerk of a boss told me to book him a flight to Toronto asap (where his affair partner lived) and to be pushy and mean if I had to. As you all know, nobody was getting flights anywhere and he wanted me to somehow get him on one. He even told me to lie. When I didn’t have any success, he called the airlines himself…still didn’t get that flight.

  46. Regular Human Accountant*

    I cannot stand it when bosses ask for something that is literally impossible, and won’t take no for an answer. I worked for a man like that for one miserable year, and he is exactly the type that would insist I find a way to get him a vaccine for which he is not eligible, and who would have gotten angry with me when I could not get it for him. I have no good advice for the OP, just a world of sympathy.

  47. 911ismynumber*

    I’m struggling with a dilemma related to this. I am a 911 operator. My state does not identify us as first responders per se. We are not able to work from home and have been reporting in as usual since day 1 (with as many precautions as possible). There have been some coworkers who have contracted Covid. I don’t think I need to explain how detrimental it would be if a majority of us were out sick for weeks and unable to answer 911 calls. Some coworkers have been able to get the vaccine by exploiting a grey area. I’m conflicted on the ethical implications of this.

    1. Jennifer*

      I think you definitely are first responders. I don’t think you are at the same level of risk as an EMT since you aren’t coming in contact with those who potentially could be ill.

    2. pancakes*

      Why not band together with coworkers and try to get categorized as first responders for vaccination purposes? There’s nothing at all unethical about telling your representative(s) (city, state, or federal) exactly what you’ve said here, and as you say, it would be hugely detrimental to so many people if more of you get sick. Send an email, the more signatures the better. Follow it up with a phone call. Maybe try reaching out to local media as well.

        1. 911ismynumber*

          There has been somewhat of a national push to identify 911 personnel as first responders, with varying levels of success at the state level. We are still currently classified federally as “Office and Administration Support”. To compare 911 to Administrative Assistants is like apples and oranges.

          If I choose to go the route some of my coworkers have taken to get the vaccine, I don’t want to be seen as “jumping the line”.

          1. pancakes*

            You also say, in a subsequent comment, “We just haven’t been told where we fall in the hierarchy.” This sounds to me like something that urgently needs to be clarified in your state, and relying on or waiting for a nationwide designation doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t see a downside to you & your coworkers advocating for yourselves and seeking clarification in the meantime.

    3. IrishEm*

      When my Mam had her stroke the person on 999 helped diagnose “suspected stroke” and helped get the ambulance out asap, I doubt she’d still be here if there hadn’t been someone to answer. Also I assume you take all 911/999 calls, so you’re supporting the fire brigade as well as ambulance services. That counts as first responders.

    4. vaccination consternation*

      Hello fellow ambiguously classified essential worker! My job also didn’t fit neatly into any of the essential worker categories listed by my state. tl; dr we provide non-COVID/non-emergency-related health services and state gov refused to give us classification guidance despite repeated requests to our contacts there, so higher ups at my org encouraged us to sign up at the same time as ancillary health care workers (aka any one in health care who is NOT an EMT or working on a dedicated COVID unit, they came before us). I had assumed we would be categorized in a lower priority group for reasons I won’t elaborate on in the interest of anonymity. Initially I felt a little guilty getting vaccinated so early since I am in my 20s and healthy, but my first dose was three weeks ago and I have no regrets. Especially given the number of people I deal with daily who refuse to wear masks.

      I’ve been reading a lot about the bioethics of vaccine prioritization, and while there are certainly wrong answers as to how to prioritize (such as this entitled CEO trying to cut the line), there is no singular “right” answer in an ethical sense when vaccine supply is so limited. Your job cannot be done remotely, is mission critical in keeping our health care infrastructure operational and you cannot do your job if you are out sick with COVID. I don’t think you are doing anything wrong by trying to get vaccinated ASAP, and would encourage you to do so. Thank you for your work as a dispatcher.

      1. 911ismynumber*

        Thank you for your reply! I guess my trepidation is that in the center I work at we do not have face-to-face interaction with the public. I definitely feel that hospital/medical staff, EMT/Fire/Police who do have in-person interaction should have priority over 911, but I also feel 911 should have priority over others, such as the OP’s CEO. We just haven’t been told where we fall in the hierarchy.

  48. Misha Handman*

    To be perfectly honest, if I were put in this situation, I would call once just like OP did.

    Then I’d just call up the phone tree and then sit on my phone for the next two hours surfing the internet, then say that they kept me on hold for ages and then said no again. And every time I got pushed to “try again”, I’d do exactly the same thing, until the CEO got bored of asking.

  49. hbc*

    1) Make no more calls and lie about it.
    1a) Be ahead of them on updates and phrase them carefully. If they hear “Still no success on getting you an appointment” twice daily, they’ll likely assume you actually did something to try to get that appointment.

    2) Call and make the minimum effort to fulfill your assignment. “Hello, Vaccination Center.” “Hi, if I was told ‘no’ yesterday and nothing’s changed on my end, it’s still a ‘no’, right?” “Uh, yes.” “Thanks, bye!”

    3) Call and tell them your assignment. Ask if there’s something you can do to make it less of a burden on them, like calling a number that goes to voicemail rather than clogging an attended line.

    1. Aepyornis*

      I think answer #1 is great, and phrased wonderfully.
      If I were on the receiving end of #2 or #3, I would rapidly become absolutely irate about someone “checking in” to see if there is anything different while tens of thousands of people with legitimate reasons to call are trying to reach us, or asking me to find a solution for them and spend time on avoiding spending more time on their request… I would not only think that the CEO is an absolute jerk, but also that the employee repeatedly passing along the problem at best lacks judgement, common sense and decency.

      1. IrishEm*

        I think I’d assume the employee’s job has been put at risk by the @$$hole CEO so I would avoid taking it out on them, but agree with the rest of your comment.

  50. Ethics Schmethics*

    A member of senior leadership at my company asked our entire project team if we could find a way to get four members to “jump the line” and get the vaccine so that they would (maybe) be allowed entry into the foreign country where the project will be happening in a few months. He also “joked” about having these team members get their CDL (commercial drivers license) so we could just have them drive trucks across the border since that is currently allowed. He’s shown his @$$ in other ways, but these examples are particularly egregious.

  51. Essess*

    I would go with “I called and they were unhappy at our company’s attempt to jump the line. Any further attempts will put the company’s public reputation at stake.”

  52. Jennifer*

    This is why so many are distrustful of the wealthy and powerful. Myself included.

    Tell your boss you’ve made all the calls and it simply can’t be done. Sadly, if he were a celebrity or a well-known public figure, like a Covid-denying politician, he probably could jump the line, but it sounds like no one knows who he is. Shame.

  53. mreasy*

    The county where my parents live has 26K qualified recipients in “tier 2” of the vaccine, and their supply is 8000 shots. If I found out that my immunocompromised 75+ father had to wait longer to get a vaccine because the CEO of a company tried – let alone was able – to jump the line, I would never patronize that company again, regardless of the difficulty that caused me. And I would do everything in my power to publicize it and get my friends, family, and colleagues to stay away as well. This is absolutely unacceptable and all the people who are themselves waiting or have vulnerable loved ones waiting would be understandably FURIOUS to hear about it. I know getting new jobs is hard but this would make me personally want to start at least looking.

  54. ArtK*

    Tell the CEO to check the county’s web site every day. I know that here (Los Angeles county), they post a notice when they’ve got extra doses defrosted and it becomes first-come-first-served. Otherwise those doses would go to waste. My son did this and got vaccinated. Better the doses go to someone out of sequence (and my son does have health conditions that move him up the list somewhat) than they be wasted.

    Other than that, your CEO is a jerk. He *knows* he’s a jerk too because he’s trying to hide what’s going on.

    1. pleaset cheap rolls*

      “Tell the CEO to check the county’s web site every day.”

      He’d say “Have a lower-cost employee do that for me.”

  55. Me*

    What a jerk. I work in emergency management and am working with our health department on this. People are REQUIRED to show proof of their employer or age. You can technically sign up for a slot if you can get one, but we will turn you away when you show up. It’s rude and entitled and all you are doing is taking a slot from someone else who does qualify and gumming up the system to make it more difficult than it already is.

    Unlike some jurisdictions we do not have extra doses. We have way more demand by individuals who are in the groups we are currently vaccinating then we do supply. If your jurisdiction is one that has an issue with leftover doses, they will provide information on how to get one. That’s his only option to jump the line.

  56. pleaset cheap rolls*

    ” very, very bad it could be PR-wise if people found out your CEO used his position to jump the line ”

    It could be bad PR if it got out he’s trying to, even if he isn’t able to do it.

  57. I'm just here for the cats*

    Is it too early to nominate this guy for Worst Boss of 2021?
    I still think we should have a Covid 19 version

  58. cleo*

    The only thing I have to add is that sometimes when I’ve been told to accomplish a ridiculous request (RR), I’ve had some luck treating it really seriously and walking the requester through all of my research / everything I’ve learned about what’s needed to accomplish the RR and letting them draw their own conclusions that it really is ridiculous or at least is not worth the bother.

    So in this case, maybe laying out the whole procedure to the HR VP if not the CEO – there are two phases (phase 1 has three subsets), this is the phase that our city / county is in. Give the CDC guidelines / links to your local gov’t defining who’s eligible 1A, 1B and 1C. Give the procedures – your CEO’s PCP is the one who decides if he’s high risk enough to qualify for 1C, etc.

  59. TiredMama*

    I doubt this person will win 2021’s worst boss of the year competition, but it’s that kind of behavior/thinking that puts you on the list.

  60. Pennyworth*

    Jumping the line (and trying to) seems to be quite common. Just two examples I am aware of: in the UK all the managers in a Scottish National Health Trust chose to get themselves vaccinated ahead of the nurses and doctors; and in the US, every board member of an aged care company took flight to one of their facilities to get vaccinated along with the care workers and residents.

    1. Self Employed*

      Stanford University Hospital got a lot of bad press because they didn’t have enough doses for all their MDs and residents… but they started with the highest ranked MDs (most of whom were faculty or administrators without patient care roles) and ran out before they’d vaccinated more than 7 of 1000 residents who actually treat COVID patients. The residents banded together to file a grievance and go to the press. Sure, if things got really bad the Dean would be intubating people in the ER, but RIGHT NOW the residents are putting their lives on the line to save others. With the level of viral load they get in that setting, and the inadequate self-care (diet, sleep, stress) even healthy young folks have been getting sick and dying.

  61. IrishEm*

    I’m getting flashbacks to The Devil Wears Prada when Andie was “asked” to get the 7th book in the Harry Potter series for Miranda Wintour’s kids when (I think) JKR had only written 4 or 5 of the books.

    You have been handed the impossible because your VP doesn’t want to get on the CEO’s bad side and is going to make you the scapegoat when you inevitably say you can’t get a vaccine for a non-healthcare professional in his 40ies. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaybe if he has some underlying condition(s) that are making him worried about getting covid, but he would have to disclose that to the healthcare provider and have some kind of documented proof, I think?

    I know I have to wait until the HSE has done all the frontline healthcare workers and everyone over 65 before the “high risk” category will get vaccinated. And I somehow doubt your CEO is going to disclose any such thing to you. Would that be a violation of the ADA or HIPAA or something?

    LW you have been handed a poison chalice, I hope Alison’s sound advice helps you to get rid of it without poisoning your career.

  62. Erin*

    A possible work-around for the CEO who is trying to skip the Covid vaccine queue:

    Tell them that ID is required (say you called to make the appt, and you were notified of this detail) and age is verified, so you don’t want them to waste their time going to an appointment that will not happen.

    This CEO’s behavior is just bad. But, if you blame their age, you won’t have to get into specifics of why this shows terrible judgement

  63. RagingADHD*

    They aren’t going to let him jump the line, no matter how many calls you make. I assure you, your health department officials do not give a flying fig about who Mr Important is or what he wants.

    So if you’re being pressured to waste your time making these calls go ahead and make them with a clear conscience. You aren’t taking anything away from anyone, because it isn’t going to happen.

  64. Sevenrider*

    As someone who has worked for the “entitled” for around 25 years, I have done a bit of fudging on how many times I call for theater tickets for sold out shows, reservations for restaurants that are booked, etc. I have never been able to figure out what they think I can do to force a theater or restaurant to make space for them. They insist I keep calling “just in case something opens up”. Unless they are standing right over me, I just go on with my regular work and keep saying, sorry, nothing yet, when asked. Seems the same strategy could be used for trying to jump the line for a COVID vaccination.

    1. HailRobonia*

      I’ve had to do similar things and have perfected my “I’m making this request under duress and please say no” tone of voice.

    2. Self Employed*

      One of my fellow volunteers is off my list of people I will invite to events at my apartment complex because he ALWAYS insists on having me ask for exceptions to their guest policies. It’s almost like he’s trying to make a point or something. He was sitting in on a tenant meeting because management had been letting people bully me and I wanted a witness. One of the agenda items was that tenants were prohibited from letting guests hang out unsupervised in the rec room after a guest vandalized the room, then stole items from a neighboring apartment. At the end of the meeting, he demanded that I get permission for him to watch the sportsball game in the rec room unattended while I went to my apartment to prepare for the committee meeting we were carpooling to later. “You know me, you know I’m not going to do anything wrong!” OK, but the whole reason you’re here is that I have negative social capital with management–and you want me to look like a Karen by asking for exceptions to rules we both heard tonight?

  65. SC in NC*

    What an absolutely horrible person! I have spent the last two days trying to make arrangements for my 85 year old parents to get a vaccination. It is a multi-step process requiring emails, cellphone numbers, multiple on-line forms and QR codes. By some miracle my father got an appointment a little more than a week after registering. My mother who we registered just an hour later could not get an appointment until the end of February. And this A-hole wants to jump the line?! For comparison, my employer is tangentially considered an essential business and I could likely get a waiver that would allow me to get a vaccination now. I would be ashamed to even think this was something I should do.

  66. Tired of Covid-and People*

    If you lurk at a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy near closing time in the hope of receiving leftover vaccine, a second dose will still need to be scheduled at the correct interval to acquire full immunity. Can the pharmacy schedule the second dose if the person is technically not yet eligible? I’m going to ask my local pharmacist about this. Those administering vaccines are accountable.

    I am 65, with health conditions, and chomping at the bit to get the vaccine. I’ll be eligible in my state in a few days, and have signed up to be notified by the county about where I can go when it’s my group’s turn. Like everything else with the pandemic, the vaccine implementation process has been an unfunny comedy of errors due to lack of federal leadership and I can’t say I agree with my state’s prioritization. Nonetheless, I’m trying to be patient and not be an entitled asshole, like OP’s boss. This too shall pass. Look, tomorrow is Inauguration Day here in the US, and at one time it seemed like hellish times would never end.

    OP, keep making halfhearted efforts but don’t waste too much time trying to do the impossible.

  67. Ciela*

    Flames, on the side of my head…

    My husband is in group 1B, or 1C, I think the under 65’s with underlying conditions have moved? No word on when he will get his vaccine. But I’m not going to call hospitals and try to jump the line?!? No, we’ve asked his PCP. And our answer was “we don’t know yet”.
    We’ve been so careful. One of his conditions affects about 0.1% of the population of the US, but patients with his condition accounted for 15% of the total COVID deaths in the US. So yeah, we’re understandably concerned.
    We’ve all got to wait our turns…

  68. No Name #1*

    This situation is terrible and not at all surprising.
    There are absolutely CEOs and people in positions of management who are using the scarcity of employment opportunities for many of us right now to take advantage of those of us who are further down in the hierarchy. I don’t believe that this is a conscious thing for everybody, but for example in this case, even moreso than in non-covid times, the CEO is probably aware on some level of the fact that his employees will feel more hesitant to stand their ground because of the reality that they could be fired or let go with statistically a smaller likelihood of getting employment. I generally respect and like the managers at my job (in retail), but they are treating some of us in a way that would not fly in this company in ordinary circumstances. The company laid people off and then hired them back as temporary workers but have not conveyed to us if or when we will stop being scheduled. I have asked for more information several times over the last month and a half and have been told “We will talk about this later” every time. I have been approaching these conversations extremely delicately because I do not want to get laid off by default, but the lack of communication and transparency has been frustrating to say the least. To be clear, I understand that things are up in the air with COVID, but it would not be too difficult for them to just say “We anticipate that we will schedule you until x date and depending on what business looks like with COVID, we will then furlough you” and at least give us a preliminary answer.

    Anyways, this is a long winded way of saying that it would not surprise me if CEOs were taking advantage of the uncertainty lower level staff are facing by pressuring them into doing things that are not ethical or aligned with their actual roles.

    1. virago*

      Co-signing all of this, plus:

      I’ve read a lot on AAM about bosses who’ve had everyone back in the office even though their jobs could easily be done from home and WFH would reduce the spread of COVID infection.

      I’ve also read about bosses who haven’t enforced COVID masking and social distancing measures in the workplace or who have even openly resisted or ridiculed the need for them.

      Now I’m reading about bosses who are putting undue pressure on lower-level employees to help them jump the line for the COVID vaccine.

      I bet that the Venn diagram of these bosses would look something like a circle.

  69. Not So NewReader*

    “Dear VP,
    I was literally at my wits end trying to figure out how to get a vaccine for CEO.
    So taking initiative, I email a famous online blogger who handles work place predicaments. She has millions of readers world-wide and she has been doing this for well over a decade. I have attached her reply to my email here. Punchline: She believes that CEO should return to his seat and quietly wait for his turn just like the rest of the kids are doing.

    do not do this.

  70. The Niece*

    My uncle is a WWII fighter jet pilot who fought in many of the major battles in the pacific and was shot down 4 (!!!) times. He is 99 years old. In the past year he has had a heart attack, a stroke, a broken pelvis and multiple major open heart surgeries. I still haven’t been able to find one for him even though he has not been able to leave his room at the care facility since March. And has not seen his children or grandchildren since then either. Your boss is a disgusting human being.

  71. Lilyofthefield*

    I am not too surprised at this; what else can we expect from the fear the world has been living in for the last year? We have been conditioned to live in a state of panic for a year now, so people are acting panic stricken. Some people do awful things when they are terrified. This does not excuse his actions, but people are truly terrified right now, and are acting upon that terror. He is acting like a horrible person, but he may be beyond frightened right now, and grabbing onto whatever he can, no matter how much it hurts others, just like a drowning person will. When people are taught to live in fear, they will act on that fear, especially when commingled with a bone deep sense of entitlement. His actions are reprehensible, but, in light of the past year, probably pretty logical in his mind. He may need someone to help him with both the jerky entitlement, and a possible fear that is overwhelming him.

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