my boss wants my husband to come to work so he can scold him, vaccines and BMI, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My husband called my boss, and now my boss wants him to show up in person so he can chastise him

I was denied the right to take my son to the hospital while he was ill and vomiting. My husband called to inquire about the reasons for the declination of permission, and my boss took offense to it and gave me an indefinite suspension until I bring my husband to workplace for a serious dialogue/warning. Was the verdict given to me right? Is it proper for my husband to go there?

What on earth. Your husband and your boss are both in the wrong, but your boss is far more wrong than your husband.

Your husband shouldn’t have called your boss. You are the person in charge of your job and your relationship with your boss, and your spouse cannot attempt to intervene with work decisions. You’re expected to handle those conversations yourself, and it’s generally considered highly inappropriate for a spouse to attempt to do that for you. You’re the one who has the employment relationship with your company.

But your boss is wildly out of line. He’s right that your husband shouldn’t have made that call, but he’s compounding that boundary problem enormously by expecting your husband to show up there to be chastised. Your husband doesn’t work there; that’s the whole point. If your boss’s argument is that your husband should stay out of your work affairs (which is correct), it makes no sense to require anything of him, let alone that he (a) arrive there and (b) submit to any sort of reprimand.

Telling you that you couldn’t leave to take your sick child to the hospital is also Not Okay, and I’m guessing all of this is just part of a pattern of tyrannical behavior from your boss.

In theory, you should tell your boss that you realize your husband overstepped and it won’t happen again, and that should be the end of it. In practice, it’s possible your boss won’t drop it until your husband shows up or at least calls him. I’m reluctant to say your husband should because it’s so weird, but you’ve got to judge based on what you know of your boss and what will put this to rest, as well as based on what you’re willing to play along with to keep the job. But know this is ridiculous and offensively inappropriate.

2. I got vaccinated because of my BMI and feel uncomfortable telling people

Great news: I just received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine! Bad news: I’m not sure how to tell my coworkers.

I’m in my early 30s but became eligible early due to obesity. My team has been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, and while there are some sporadic IT- and equipment-related needs for someone to pop into the office, no one is really expecting to go back full-time before the fall.

On one hand, I’d really like to tell my team because 1) it’s good news I’d want them to know in the same way I’d tell them I got engaged or was expecting, 2) one of my older team members got vaccinated and was very open about the experience, 3) it’ll be a topic of conversation as more people become eligible, and 4) it means I can more safely go into the office than other coworkers.

On the other hand, I feel uncomfortable telling people I got vaccinated because I’m fat. (It’s nothing you can’t tell by looking at me, but saying it out loud is different.) And while I’m pretty sure everyone would be happy for me, I’m still worried about “vaccine envy” or feelings that I “jumped the line.”

What’s the least awkward way to bring this up? Do I rip the bandaid off and say “I got vaccinated because of my high BMI?” Pretend I got vaccinated later than I did? Wait until a few others are vaccinated, then drop “Oh yeah, I got vaccinated recently too?”

The timing is totally up to you — you are not obligated to announce it immediately if you’d rather not — but at whatever point you do share it, there is zero need to explain what made you eligible because that is your own personal, private medical information. In fact, I’d argue it’s better not to explain the reasons for your eligibility, since that reinforces the idea that people are entitled to know, which in turn puts pressure on other people to reveal their own private medical information. No one needs to reveal to their coworkers that they have a heart condition or are diabetic or immunocompromised or what their BMI is — it’s all private medical info.

All you need to say is, “I’m vaccinated.” If anyone asks why: “I qualified under the stage we’re at now.” If anyone pushes beyond that (which would be rude): “Oh, medical stuff I don’t get into at work.” That’s it!

3. Interviewing with the team I’d manage if I’m hired

For the past few months, I’ve been interviewing for a high level manager position, and I’ve finally reached the last stage. I’ve been asked to interview with the team that I would be supervising and I have the opportunity to ask them questions. Any ideas on good questions? I really want to find out more about their backgrounds, but I’d imagined having one-on-one meetings with them if I got the job. In a shorter interview with the entire team, what do I ask?

Yeah, I wouldn’t ask about their backgrounds at this stage; you’re right to save that for one-on-one meetings if you’re hired. Instead, ask about what they see as the team’s biggest challenges (and, separately, the organization’s challenges), their biggest goals for the year, what’s important to them in a manager, how the team has navigated the pandemic … stuff that will give you some insight into their perspectives on some of the most substantive stuff you’d be working with if you were in the role. Good luck!

Read an update to this letter

4. Is it unprofessional to stay with my parents during a work trip?

My company is holding an afternoon event next month. All attendees except for me live locally where the event will be held, and I will likely be the only one needing a hotel for the night. My parents live within driving distance of the event location. Would it be unprofessional of me to ask my boss if I can stay at my parents’ place the night before and drive to the event the day of to save the company from paying for my hotel accommodation? (There are no related networking activities the day before, the morning or evening of, or the day after the event.)

Not unprofessional at all. You don’t even need to ask; you can just explain that’s your plan. For example: “I have family in the area who I’d like to stay with, so I’ll plan on doing that and save the company the hotel costs.”

(Because of Covid, it might make sense to add, “We’re all vaccinated” or “they’re vaccinated” or whatever is true, so it’s clear your plan isn’t to blithely ignore public health advice, especially if you’ll then return to your office. Then again, your company is holding an in-person event as cases rise again, so hopefully you’re in an area where infection rates are much lower than they are in the U.S.)

5. I’m worried about letting my team down if I take another offer

A year and a half ago, I started a job in a new field that I worked really hard to pivot into. It was going great until COVID-19 hit, and I ended up getting laid off. A few months later, I took a contract job with Company A in a field that’s related to what I had been doing before but isn’t quite the same. Company A said it was a 7-9 month contract and they were interested in making it permanent in 2021 if the budget allowed.

As I was nearing the seven-month mark of the contract, I hadn’t heard any update on their intention for extending it or making the job permanent. A friend happened to reach out with a job opening on her team that sounded perfect and would be a chance to get back into the work I want to do. The same day I was contacted by Company B to schedule the interview, Company A told me they were moving ahead with formalizing my position. Fast forward a few weeks, and Company B just made me an offer — and a few hours later, my current boss called to tell me they posted my position. I’d rather take Company B’s offer, but Company A is a great place with great people, and I know my team is swamped and really need the extra person and are already making long-term plans that involve me! I feel like I need to go through with submitting my application at least, since I genuinely AM interested in the role despite preferring the new opportunity, but Company B expects a response by Monday. Do I owe it to Company A to stay in my job, or can I accept Company B’s offer with a clear conscience? I hate the thought of letting down my current team.

You don’t owe it to Company A to stay in your job if you’d rather do something else! Since they originally told you 7-9 months, they should assume you’d be job searching as the end of that time period approaches, which means that you could find something else. That’s the risk companies take when they create contract positions, and they know that! Note, too, that they still aren’t offering you the job now — they’re posting it for applications, so they really can’t expect you to turn down a good offer while there’s no guarantee they’ll hire you themselves (although even if they’d offered it to you, that still wouldn’t obligate you to stay). It’s completely fine to take the other job if you’d prefer it!

And you won’t be letting down your team. People change jobs; it’s a normal part of doing business, and everyone survives. And if that’s something that they want to avoid, making you an offer now would be a good way to do that. They haven’t done that.

{ 552 comments… read them below }

  1. Beaka*

    #1 – I know this isn’t always possible, but I’d seriously consider leaving that job.

    1. CatCat*

      Given that the OP is now on “indefinite suspension,” it’s like the job has left the OP. I’d file for unemployment benefits, personally.

      1. Bilateralrope*

        Yeah. That sounds like a firing to me and should be treated as such.

        Especially if the letter writer is somewhere with laws about what is considered an acceptable reason to fire someone.

        1. Natalie*

          Even in the US, which doesn’t have those laws in general, you could likely qualify for UI. I’m sure the employer would contest it so there would be a bit of a process to prove your eligibility but it would definitely be worth trying.

          1. TardyTardis*

            Besides, UI personnel are human, too–if you’re being fired because you wanted to take your vomiting son to the hospital, well, they have kids, too. They may well know all about your boss by now anyway (I’m sure you aren’t the first person to run afoul of him).

      2. Liane*

        Considering that part, I was expecting Alison to bring out her classic, “Your boss is an ass and isn’t going to change.”

      3. Thornus*

        I would consider that route as well.

        In addition, #1, if an American, do you live in a state or city with guaranteed paid sick leave accrual? I know not every place has it, but generally the places that do (for instance, NYC or Washington state, just off the top of my head) guarantee the right to use it to take care of sick immediate family members. Dependent kids *always* qualify as that if the law has such a protection.

        1. Snow Globe*

          FMLA could also apply, and while it is not paid, it would prevent the LW from being penalized for taking leave to care for a sick family member.

          1. Instructional Designer*

            FMLA guidelines are pretty strict. LW said her son was ill and vomiting. If that was not an ongoing medical issue I don’t think FMLA would cover it.

            1. JSPA*

              Well, tummy bug isn’t covered. But acute appendicitis, is.

              If he went to the hospital with “suspect appendicitis,” that’s different from “we’re worried he’s getting dehydrated and are bringing him in for hydration.”

              That, in turn, is different from, “we run to the hospital with any case of projectile vomiting” (Which is useless for the person suffering, and also a way to bring norovirus or other essentially untreatable, transmissible vomiting diseases into a space where people are, y’know, healing from surgery and dealing with chronic conditions.)

              Of course, Covid can also manifest as “ill and vomiting”–perhaps more so in kids than adults–so there’s that, too.

              1. PT*

                Some people do end up needing hospital treatment with norovirus though, if they end up dangerously dehydrated because they cannot hold water in long enough to absorb it. This is much more common with small children than adults but it can happen to anyone.

                1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

                  My sister is prone to having BAD symptoms to stomach flus and has ended out in the emergency room on iv fluids more than once. She now knows to go to urgent care and call ahead so they can take steps to prepare to contain possible spread.

            2. JessaB*

              Yes but a number of chronic gastric issues would qualify besides appendicitis. IBS diagnosis, Crohns, major ulcers, I spent a long time in hospital as an inpatient due to gastric issues when I was a child. If I’d been young when FMLA was available, my parents would have qualified.

          2. Thornus*

            FMLA has number requirements that can be difficult to meet – namely 50 employees within some geographic distance I can’t recall. I would hope that any company which has 50 employees and is subject to the FMLA provides paid sick leave.

      4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Given that the OP is now on “indefinite suspension,” it’s like the job has left the OP. I’d file for unemployment benefits, personally.

        I think I said out loud “Go ahead and make the suspension permanent.”

      5. TootsNYC*

        UI benefits generally cover reduced hours, and they cover constructive dismissal.

        And yes, I’d look for a new job, pronto.

      6. Momma Bear*

        That is the part that really got me. Indefinite suspension? For this? There’s a lot wrong with that boss/job.

    2. VivaVaruna*

      Reading that letter, I may have involuntarily said “Run!” fifty times in a row with increasing urgency.

      But seriously LW1, that place is no bueno. I would seriously start making an escape route from that workplace.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Definitely use the leave time to job search. If boss expects you to field phoone calls and respond to emails during your suspension, remind him you are suspended and cannot work. That bridge is already burnt, he was never going to give you a good reference anyway. The first thing out of his mouth would be “And she had her husband call to ask why I wouldn’t let her go home when her son was sick. Then had the audacity to not bring him in for a lecture when I ordered her to.” Do you want a loon for a reference anyway?

    3. anonymouse*

      WTF is “indefinite suspension”?
      You are banned from the property until your boss decides you are again worthy.
      OK, let’s pretend that’s normal. Let’s pretend there are protocols around this absurd whim.
      OP, are you being paid during this time? Are your benefits still in place? Are your peers and professional contacts/clients being told you are “suspended” or are you still doing work?
      I can’t get my head around this.
      I’d be tempted to contact HR and ask them about salary and benefits during my suspension, because I need to be clear about what will and will not happen and then watch the empire fall out from under Pol Pothead over there.

      1. nom de plume*

        Indeed. OP, your boss’s reaction is at once petty and abusive. He’s reacting like you’re a child to be punished, and that attitude sends up all sorts of red flags. Please know that a rational person would – well, first of all, they would let you deal with a family emergency, but, assuming they’re a dick but not THIS MUCH of a dick – they’d mention to you that your husband calling was inappropriate and let it go.

        That’s it. This is so *wildly* inappropriate, my mouth is agape. Please know you’re working for a lunatic. I’m so sorry.

        1. nom de plume*

          Quick addendum, OP.

          Your boss is clearly petty and power-hungry, because he’s enjoying the prospect of *scolding* someone (which is nuts and infantile) and humiliation clearly gets him going. This is someone who wants to Be Right.
          Given that, you could start by obsequiously apologizing for your husband and saying he and you have both recognized he was wrong, and it won’t happen again, and see if that’s enough of a performance of contrition for him.

          I feel gross suggesting this, but it beats having your husband come in. The psychology of people like this is not complex (trust me, I know), so as long as you hit the right notes, it may be worth a try.

      2. Koalafied*

        Oh I’d bet dollars to donuts there’s no HR to speak of. This screams “tyrannical small business owner accountable to no one.”

        1. RVA Cat*

          That could make my petty idea even better – have the husband go but only if he livestreams Jerkboss on social media.

    4. Not A Girl Boss*

      I am trying to even understand a universe in which my boss would have the power to tell me I can’t take my kid to the hospital??? Like, why is this a question and in what universe is ‘no’ an acceptable answer?
      I mean, even for much less serious things, like “I have a sinus infection and am going to the doc to get some antibiotics at 3pm.” I tell, not ask. And my bosses are like, “oh, ok, feel better. Let me know if you’ll be out tomorrow also.” Even when I had jobs with really strict shift coverage requirements, I would be able to peace out without finding cover in a situation like that. That’s what bosses are there for, to handle coverage so you can handle the emergency.

      1. anonymouse*

        Agreed. I technically ask, “I’m sick. Is it cool if I leave now?” meaning, “do you need me to know anything before I go?” not “can I go?”

      2. LunaLena*

        There are workplaces out there where, if you are late even by one minute (no grace period) six times in a year, that is grounds for automatic termination. And “car trouble” is specifically listed as not a valid excuse for being late (there was almost zero public transportation in that area too). There was one punch clock and the doors didn’t unlock until 7:57am, so there was always a group around the doors and everyone would fight to get their timecard punched before the clock ticked over to 8:01 am.

        This was the same workplace where the regional manager would reprimand people if he saw “heads sticking out of cubicles.” No exceptions, even asking questions was a big NO (if you had a question, you rushed over to their cubicle, crouched down, and whispered as fast as you could). Pretty sure if anyone had left without notice to pick up a sick child they would be incredibly lucky to not be fired on the spot. My team lead worked unpaid overtime until 8pm almost every night and hadn’t taken a vacation in 15 years, from what the others told me.

        I lasted there all of two months before I found a new job and quit (unfortunately the next place turned out to be even worse, but that’s another story). This wasn’t the dark ages either, it was 2011 and in a major US city, and the company in question was an international corporation. I don’t mean this sarcastically at all, but you’re lucky you’ve only ever had understanding, supportive bosses and have never experienced a predicament where “I tell, not ask” will not fly if you intend to keep your job at all. That company even screwed me over after I’d left, simply because they could.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          My mom works in a call center that has insane policies like this, and she’s gotten written up for calling in sick with no notice. (She’s in her 70s, has multiple chronic conditions, and some days that hits her hard.) She’s a top quality performer and works on a team that supports VIP accounts, but no level of quality makes it okay to call out when you wake up vomiting or get into a car accident on your way to work.

          1. Dashed*

            A friend of mine was fired for being in the hospital for three days. Obviously had a doctor’s note. She was called — at the hospital — on her fourth day to say she had been terminated and demand that someone come by to pick up her things before end of day or they would be destroyed. The company was a major international company based in the U.S. This incident occurred after she had been heavily recruited and trained — so a significant investment was made in her. And yet, three days of verified illness and she was fired.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              Pretty sure “you need to have your things picked up by end of day or we will destroy them” is illegal. Those things are somebody’s private property, not the company’s; and it would take a lot longer than one day before the law would regard them as abandoned.

        2. Not A Girl Boss*

          I wasn’t saying this to mean that the situation doesn’t exist, I know that it does. As a supervisor I once had to fight back because my boss wanted to fire someone for making a mistake his first shift back after his son was murdered a few days earlier (and he was only back because we only allowed 3 days bereavement). And I had to actively work to get around the crazy rules about what defined late, constantly changing people’s assigned start time in the system so it wouldn’t flag them.

          My point was to highlight how wildly out of the acceptable norms this behavior is. That we are all adult humans who sometimes have human needs, and that if corporations want to be able to tell people ‘no, you cannot be human’ they should hire robots. We just need to stop treating these kinds of things as rational enough to even have polite debate about. Jobs don’t get to tell you not to be human, full stop.

          1. LunaLena*

            I totally agree that such companies are far outside the norm and are honestly just really bad workplaces. But when you phrase things as “you should tell, not ask” as if that’s a blanket solution to everything, it just, I don’t know… isn’t very helpful either? You made it sound like if everyone just responded the way you do they’d be fine, when it’s clear that, in reality, there are plenty of workplaces where they cannot if they want to keep their job. That’s why it just sounded really naive to me, so I wanted to point out that there are exceptions to it.

        3. anonymouse*

          I understand that I have been very fortunate.
          I have had crappy jobs and worked for and with crappy people, but never in a systemically crappy situation.
          Whatever issues the people had, whatever feelings they had about the place or me, however I felt about the place or them, were in check because workplace rules were in place and respected and human social norms were well, the norm, not the exception.
          People could be snarky about how many days off someone took, or left early, or came in late, but the company didn’t foster a “turn on your coworkers to save yourself; use your staff to make yourself look good” mentality.
          Vent to your best work friend and then get on with your life.
          And when real life comes through the door, (sickness, flooded basement, fire, etc.) that took priority.

      3. Queen Anon*

        I knew of someone, a factory worker, who got fired because she left work without her supervisor’s permission when she got a phone call that her sister had been killed in a car accident. She looked for her supervisor, couldn’t find her, let a co-worker know what had happened, and left. It’s not even that no one knew she was gone or why, just that she didn’t specifically have her supervisor’s permission to leave. I’m reasonably certain the assembly line didn’t break down because of it but she still lost her job. (I didn’t know her; a co-worker of mine did and told me about it.)

        1. StudentA*

          These stories are making me sick. I think these companies should be sued for wrongful termination. I also think the victims should take to Twitter with these stories or to the news. I know some people will say, “It’s not worth it, it doesn’t look good for future job searches…” Know what? I used to worry about stuff like that. Come to find out, these things don’t matter as much as we think they do. A good employer will get it.

          1. Koalafied*

            I 99% agree with you, with the small caveat that /how/ you tell the story in public can still make a difference. These are clearly abjectly terrible working environments and none of the people making these decisions should be in positions of power, so if you seem to be level-headed no decent employer will fault you for it. But if you were say, getting revenge by waging a harassment campaign against them and responding to every single tweet they send with profanity-laden threats, as satisfying as that would be, the fact that you’re doing it in response to an abjectly terrible working environment is not necessarily going to get you a pass on that. It sucks, but even good companies will pause before hiring someone whose response to being wronged is to seek revenge or catharsis vs seeking accountability and justice. They’ll think, “Of course they’re justified in being upset, but where exactly is their bar for this? Is the reaction only this extreme because the conditions warranted it, or is this just their default reaction to anything not going their way?”

        2. L*

          I was taken to hospital from work with a suspected heart attack. I was told off the next day for not telling an off duty manager what had happened (from my hospital bed!!!), despite the on duty manager calling the ambulance.

          Thank heavens I ended up leaving. I walked out and bingo! Health massively improved within a week.

      4. Goodoldboysinsweats*

        Because you’ve never worked with employees who are out constantly with child care issues leaving coworkers and clients in the.lurch. That type.of response typically comes after.the 10th unplanned absence in a month for child something or another. I disagree with the husband calling and the boss’s suspension, but suspect this was not a one time incident, and that hubby was probably a threatening jerk on OP may need to look for a new.job and assess her.home situation.

      5. Liz*

        I do the same. I nicely tell, i don’t ask. My job is one that coverage isn’t needed all the time, so its possible for me to do that. And since I work from home, what I’ll do is say “I have an appt. at x time, i should be back by y” and I always let them know I’ll log back in, just to check there’s nothing that needs to be taken care of right then and there. And my bosses are fine with that.

  2. Why?*

    #3 I wouldn’t say anything yet. In about 2 weeks everyone will be eligible and it won’t matter why you get a vaccine.

    1. Willis*

      Yeah, if it has the potential to make the OP feel uncomfortable or start a discussion about line jumping etc, I would just wait to say anything. You can still be excited to tell people in a few weeks. I don’t think there’s any reason the OP HAS to wait and no reason to disclose why she was eligible, but if is a source of worry, it’s not a big deal to just wait.

      1. Detta Werk*

        One big reason that makes it problematic for fat people to disclose their vax status during limited eligibility periods is fatphobia. It is likely that people will assume that the preexisting condition is obesity because it is visible, even if OP has other preexisting conditions or is overweight but not obese; further, many people in our society think it is acceptable to comment on fat people’s health, and moreover, some people are so bigoted that they’re saying that obese people shouldn’t have access to the vaccine because being fat is a choice or something. OP is at minimum opening themselves up to unwanted and often triggering commentary, and possibly opening themselves up to being shunned by coworkers who think they “cheated” their way into something they didn’t “deserve”.

        1. Molly Coddler*

          Those fat-phobic people who are “so concerned” with our health should be glad that we are taking care of our health by getting vaccinated. Or admit it’s not about our health. (spoiler: it’s not about our health)

          1. Self Employed*

            I had people telling me early in the pandemic that I had better lose weight so I won’t die of COVID, and if I catch it before I lose the weight I don’t deserve a hospital bed.

            Rapid weight loss programs can damage the heart muscle and will impair immunity–how is that going to help prevent a bad case of COVID?

            Yes, I blocked them all.

    2. GammaGirl1908*

      Coming to say this. There are ¡plenty! of people who are eligible now for various reasons. LW’s is one of the various and she does not need to volunteer how she managed it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t go around bragging about the fact that you got vaccinated or how, and if anyone asks, just say vaguely that you were in one of the eligible groups and change the subject. Nobody needs any further information.

      Just because someone asks does not mean you need to immediately volunteer 110% of the answer, and that goes double if the answer is none of their business.

      Note, I am eligible for the same reason. I didn’t feel the need to announce my eligibility reason to my coworkers, even though I was able to take vaccine leave to go get the shot. Obviously they know what I look like, but they’re also perfectly welcome to assume that I have asthma or something. I also live in Washington DC, and the rules are different in the tri-state area here. Someone in Maryland is eligible when someone six miles away in Virginia is not. I know people who have been vaccinated and people who are still waiting, and the reasons why anyone’s in either group are nobody’s business. Hopefully we will all get there soon enough.

      1. JM60*

        And who is eligible isn’t always clear. I emailed my doctor to ask if my unusual medical history qualifies me under my state’s medical condition criteria for eligibility, and he replied with a somewhat vague affirmative response. So I went ahead and scheduled appointments for both of my doses.

        Even though I exclusively work from home and don’t hit conventional medical criteria (high BMI, high age, diabetes, etc.) I think the location I’ll be getting it at puts me in the clear morally. It’s a location 3 hours away that had appointments available when I checked in the past, and they had appointments available on all days. That tells me that many there are refusing the vaccine, and I’m not going to be causing anyone to have to wait longer for a dose. If someone isn’t going to be taking a dose now, I might as well take it and get us closer to herd immunity.

        1. JM60*

          I wanted to add that in my case, I’d rather my company not know that I’m vaccinated because I don’t want them recalling people into an office. I want WFH to be an option for as long as possible!

          1. GammaGirl1908*

            Ha, this too. I’m well aware that taking vaccine leave just lets the organization know who’s had their vaccine, but I decided to just take the afternoon off anyway.

          2. Bilateralrope*

            Yeah. I’d advise against anyone telling their employer about their vaccination status except in three circumstances:
            – You think you will get some benefit from letting them know.
            – They ask. What you tell them depends a lot on your workplace.
            – You want to plan for the possibility that you have a rough day after getting your final dose.

            1. NoviceManagerGuy*

              I’m telling people because I want to encourage anybody who’s hesitating to get it. That said, I have a reason for being eligible in PA that even the biggest jerk wouldn’t be annoying to me over – I take care of an elderly relative – so it’s an easier choice for me.

              (And I’ve been working from home since 2012.)

        2. Natalie*

          Aren’t we past the point where we need to justify why it’s morally right to get a vaccine that is rather widely available? (At least in the US.) You don’t have to do it at work and you don’t have to do it here IMO.

          1. AY*

            I tend to agree, but I think there are plenty of places that still aren’t open to all adults, so I understand the impulse to justify. My personal opinion is that a shot in an arm is a moral thing at this point, no matter whose arm. I had a friend go into a longwinded explanation why she got a jab a week before her true eligibility date. Her husband mistakenly marked her as obese when signing them up, not realizing that obese and overweight are actually different BMI categories. She felt a lot of (unnecessary IMO) shame about it. I was extra positive about it to try to counteract some of that shame.

          2. Lily Rowan*

            Yeah, I live in Massachusetts and the general public doesn’t qualify for a couple of weeks yet here. And people who DO qualify have to do a fair amount of finagling to get appointments.

            So yeah, I’m not super comfortable qualifying because of my weight, but I do and I will take that shot.

            1. WantonSeedStitch*

              As I have said to my friends here in MA who qualified for that reason: the medical industry generally discriminates against people over a certain weight/of a certain body type, and sometimes, that fatphobia keeps people from getting treatment they need, and sometimes even gets them killed. Any time your weight can HELP you medically, TAKE IT and do not feel bad about it.

              1. JSPA*

                BMI is normally extra useless because it conflates weight from muscle with weight from adipose tissue, but in the case of Covid, it’s not as pointless.

                There are multiple issues potentially in play that connect higher BMI and worse covid outcomes.

                1. inflammation (people with certain sorts of adipose deposits may also be more prone to more extreme inflammatory response).

                2. undiagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed kidney disease and high blood pressure are independent Covid risk factors, and are somewhat higher in people with higher BMI (and for two of those three, that extra mass can be muscle, and still contribute).

                3. Extra body mass requires extra oxygen relative to lung size. In fact, muscle takes more oxygen to maintain, than adipose. While not as well studied, it’s also a given that extra mass (muscle, adipose, whatever) has to be supplied by blood vessels. Any blood vessel that’s undersupplied with oxygen (especially if you’re also being dehydrated by a ventilator) can serve as a nucleation point for small clots which in turn can generate larger clots.

                Basically, people who are “fit fat” and “healthy at any size” under normal circumstances are not necessarily in the clear, as far as higher covid risk. Even if you know that nothing in #1 and #2 apply to you…you still have mass that will be competing with your brain and your other essential organs for oxygen, and quite probably, a greater risk (if you have a severe case) of a life-changingly bad outcome, from the severe case. Even if people would peg you as a Clydesdale / Athena triathlete type.

                If you have the access, get the shot. And then help others get theirs.

                1. Former Young Lady*

                  This is the best nutshell I’ve read yet. I wish I could’ve shared it with my BFF and my spouse when their BMIs qualified them, because they both really struggled with being classified that way.

                2. Anon Moose*

                  These potentials still don’t negate the potential that fatphobia in treatment may be causing worse outcomes as well.

                  They had assumed that fat folks were having worse outcomes with H1N1 because:fat

                  but then a study came out where they controlled for time to treatment and they found that people with higher BMIs were consistently getting treated differently and when they controlled for that time to treatment the association for worse outcomes with high BMI disappeared.

              2. JessaB*

                Yeh during the time it was 60+ only, I qualified because the governor added kidney dialysis patients to the health list. Now Ohio is everyone over 16, but I wasn’t going to wait for a dose when I became eligible.

              3. Carlie*

                I was going to say that as well. Study after study shows that overweight people are treated worse by the medical industry than those who aren’t at all levels. Doctors focus on weight and not actual disease symptoms. Surgeries are banned if you weigh too much. Standardized drugs are standardized to smaller bodies so they don’t work as well. Also, overweight people can’t get life insurance. The deck is so stacked against overweight people in health care that getting this one vaccine is the tiniest drop in the bucket of compensation, so take it and do not feel guilty.

            2. Temperance*

              I’m obese and asthmatic. They’re unrelated, but my state allowed people with high BMIs and smokers over people with actual respiratory diseases.

              I don’t care how I qualified, I’m happy that I qualified and got my shots. I mean, I’d like to not be obese, but that’s neither here nor there.

          3. Temperance*

            FWIW, I agree with you, but my county/state had a horribly botched process that the new Acting Secretary of Health has just been fixing over the past few weeks.

            It was the Hunger Games until last week. I had to drive about an hour away to a more rural county, which was annoying but doable for me because I have a vehicle, can drive, etc. I was able to grab up an appointment about 2 miles from our house for my husband on Thursday night for Friday, which shocked me.

            1. Natalie*

              You missed the “rather”. It’s sufficiently available that people don’t need to itemize the reasons they decided to the get the vaccine. (If they ever needed to, really.)

              Something around 1/3 of Americans have already been partially or fully vaccinated. I’m having trouble finding an exact figure for how many adults are eligible but it’s safe to say it’s well over 50%.

              1. JSPA*

                There’s a huge technology divide. Also, I have not been able to suss out if the numbers are relative to a) citizens b) citizens and permanent residents c) all documented residents, including shorter-term visas d) census numbers or e) everyone who lives within our borders. Those are all different denominators.

                I do know plenty of people who can’t find vaccines in their metro area, including people who have multiple risk factors, and were eligible on paper a month ago or more. Including some I think of as web-savvy, but they may not have the reaction time to snag a spot before they all trickle away.

                Not a reason to refuse a shot! But absolutely a reason to help others schedule.

                1. Old and Don’t Care*

                  That’s not the point she’s making, which is about eligibility not access.

              2. Aquawoman*

                I think it makes more sense to assume that the LW’s take on the situation is more accurate than assumptions based on generalities that may or may not apply where the LW actually is. Availability varies pretty significantly in different places.

                1. Natalie*

                  Well, I was actually responding to another commenter’s list of personal justifications, not the LW. I know the threading can make things hard to follow sometimes and it’s super fun to jump in with a “well actually”, but dang.

                  Also, it would be just as relevant to the LW. They also don’t need to justify to anyone why it’s morally right for them to take the vaccine now. Nor should they worry that they are somehow revealing secret medical info solely on the basis of having gotten the vaccine.

          4. JM60*

            I have to disagree that it’s “widely available”. Lots of people are eligible for the vaccine, but that doesn’t mean that actual shots are available.

            My brother lives where I do and has been eligible for a month and a half die to his publicly facing job. Yet, he was only able to schedule an appointment days before I did. The eligibility opening up for everyone is going to make it harder for people like him who HAVE to risk exposure to get a vaccine.

            The vaccine is widely available where I’m getting it… 3 hrs away from my major metro area. Not everyone can take 2 days off of work for 2 6 hr round trip drives.

            1. Natalie*

              Well, I guess if you feel like you have to justify it to yourself or others no one can stop you, but I still think it’s unnecessary. It’s completely fine that you’ve scheduled a vaccine appointment. It would have been fine even if it was closer than 3 hours away, or if it was a little harder to get one, or if your doctor’s response had been more neutral than affirmative.

            2. JM60*

              I want to add that opening up eligibility is partly a balance between efficiency of distribution and making sure priority groups get it first. While there are groups that should be offered the vaccine first, you don’t want to wait until exactly 100% of those in the group who want it have booked an appointment to open up eligibility to new people, since that means some appointment slots will remain unclaimed before eligibility opens up. This would slow distribution. On the other hand, the earlier you open up eligibility, the fewer appointment slots are unclaimed, but more people in high need of the vaccine won’t get it before appointments become even harder to book.

          5. MCMonkeybean*

            Fully agree. If OP wants to wait to tell their coworkers there is no reason they can’t, but I also think it should be really easy for them to say they got vaccinated without having to explain why they were eligible. I have seen tons of posts online from friends getting vaccinated and for most of them I have no idea what would make them eligible. I know at least one signed up for a list to be called if Walgreen’s needed to use up doses after finishing their appointments for the day and a couple are teachers. For everyone else, I have literally no idea how they got the shot and I have not seen a single person ask!

            But obviously OP knows their own coworkers and hopefully has a sense of whether they are the type of people who would react in a crappy way and demand an explanation. If she genuinely thinks that is likely for some reason, then maybe hold off. But if she is just being anxious and getting in her own head then hopefully it helps to hear that most reasonable people would not expect or ask you to explain your vaccine and will just be happy for another shot in another arm.

      2. Liz*

        I’m also eligible for that reason. And have gotten my first shot, and second is scheduled. I’ve mentioned it to my bosses, in passing. I don’t know if any of them are eligible yet or not, and its none of my business! They only commented “that’s great”

        I also know people outside of work who were vaccinated WAY ahead of me, who, as far as I know, didn’t have a reason to be eligible, but they very well may have. Again, none of my business. I’m just happy that its opening up to more and more people, and hoping the supply will increase to allow everyone TO get vaccinated.

        1. Jaydee*

          Same here. Eligible due to obesity. Have at least one friend who got vaxxed before me that I’m
          Not aware of any health condition that would make him eligible. But the only reason it bothered me was jealousy because he got an appointment faster than I did.

          My ire about vaccine distribution is not really with individuals traveling out of their area to get a shot or getting one before they are technically eligible. My ire is with our state for having a system that…isn’t really a system and leaves people with fewer resources (lower income, weird work schedules, limited English proficient, can’t drive, rural areas, not tech savvy, etc.) to largely fend for themselves.

          Back on topic, no one who knows I’ve gotten the vaccine has questioned why I’m eligible (it would be obvious just by looking that I meet the obesity criteria, but I could have other stuff going on and they wouldn’t need to know that). Most conversations that have gone beyond “I got my first shot last week; oh yay! I get mine tomorrow” have been about things like which version we got, did we have any reactions, have all our parents gotten them yet, how hard was it to find/schedule an appointment, etc. Maybe my friends and co-workers are unusually decent humans, but no one is questioning or nitpicking why Wakeen is eligible but Sansa isn’t or why Jane got her shot already but Fergus hasn’t.

          1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

            Hah, in regards to your first paragraph, in my area there are kind of first-line and second-line medical conditions that qualified. I have a first-line medical condition, my boyfriend has a second-line. He got called two weeks before me. I was miffed, particularly when an update from our local health department (an hour after I was called) said they’d lost records of some eligible people. Thanks, health department…

      3. ThatGirl*

        I also was eligible because of my BMI, though there are now some sites in my state that will take anyone over 16 (and many states are now letting any adult get vaccinated). I just breezily told my team I’d gotten my first shot, because it’s good news! and nobody asked why, and I certainly didn’t volunteer it. I think OP can tell people if they want to, but they definitely don’t need to get into why they were eligible.

      4. Artemesia*

        I live in an area with a huge concentration of hospitals and health facilities and so getting vaccines if you are not a health care worker was slower than some other places. My middle aged daughter and SIL have been able to get the vaccine in the 1c phase which includes so many occupations you would not necessarily expect. Just hang tight and don’t talk about it for awhile and it won’t be an issue. And you never need to discuss your reasons for eligibility.

        1. JustaTech*

          One of my cousins got signed up for an appointment last night (in the middle of the weekly family Zoom) because she’s a lawyer. Another cousin and an aunt got theirs as state employees.
          Now, when everyone works in the same state you’re less likely to run into “well this state has different occupational availability”, but the availability requirements can still be pretty opaque, so the OP wouldn’t have to say why they got vaccinated already.
          And even if they did feel obligated to give a reason “a medical thing” is completely true.

      5. Koalafied*

        Yeah, I qualify both because I recently tipped over the line into being officially overweight (thanks to pandemic weight gain) and even before I discovered that, because I’m a former smoker. But the most detail I’ve disclosed to anyone – including the forms I filled out to register for the vaccine with the state government is – “I qualify for tier 2B.” or “I have a qualifying condition.” The CDC’s qualifying conditions include plenty of invisible disabilities, as well as things like “substance abuse disorder,” and the entire list is of conditions that are nobody’s business but the patient and their personal doctor. Around here the vaccination sites were requiring proof of age or job when those were the only ways to qualify, but as soon as it opened up to underlying conditions the state health department forbade vaccination sites from asking for proof of eligibility. 1) Because it’s nobody’s business and 2) because not everyone has a relationship with a doctor who can provide official documentation of their condition, but that doesn’t make them any less vulnerable or vaccinating them any less of an imperative.

    3. allathian*

      Yeah, I agree with you. A few weeks here or there isn’t likely to matter in the long term. Unless, of course, the LW is yearning to go back to the office, but I don’t get that vibe from the letter.

    4. Richard*

      Depends where OP is on when everyone’s eligible, but that would be my tack as well. Wait a couple weeks and when it comes up, vaguely say “Yeah, I got mine not long ago.”

    5. NYWeasel*

      Plenty of technically non-eligible people have been getting “wait-list” shots at the end of the day when they would have to be tossed. There’s no reason to even say you officially qualified if you don’t want to. It’s not like your coworkers will know either way.

      I will also add that I’m guilty of having asked a coworker how she got a shot—not because I had any interest in policing her medical history, but bc I was trying to find all the options possible for my family. I realized my mistake as I asked and was embarrassed that I’d been rude, but I can tell you that if you just have a generic helpful response like “CVS and Walgreens usually have wait lists at the end of the day.” you don’t even have to give a personal explanation.

      1. Natalie*

        Yep! I’m always slightly bemused by people who think that sharing they’ve been vaccinated will reveal anything about their medical history aside from that vaccination. It’s just not that tightly controlled anymore. Before they opened it to all adults, my state had been selecting essential workplaces and people at random for community vaccination clinics for months.

        1. ArtsNerd*

          And yet! I was questioned less than two weeks ago by a *medical professional* about why I was able to get a vaccine scheduled, complete with “do you know someone?”

          Ma’am, we’re in a cardiology examination room. I’m not exactly here for the scenery. (She had my chart open too, so she could have just glanced at my illustrious roster of medical issues and answered her own question.)

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Everyone is now eligible in my state, but previously, eligibility was extended to caregivers (paid & non- paid) for the elderly or people who are disabled or medically fragile. I know someone whose husband works in the back office for a large healthcare provider, & he got a leftover dose early on. There are many valid reasons someone could get the vaccine “early,” & I don’t think the OP needs to go into detail about it. (As long as she isn’t dressing up like a “granny” & lying about her age.)

      3. NoviceManagerGuy*

        Yes, my wife got hers because the local grocery store had accidentally scheduled 15 shots for one person and she was on the handwritten list of “can show up quickly” they keep by the pharmacy phone.

      4. Tay*

        That’s exactly how I got mine. I went to take my dad to his appointment at one of the FEMA run sites, it was towards the end of the day and he asked them if they had extra doses left for me since I was already there and they did. For a moment I felt guilty for “skipping the line” but I would have felt worse to not take it when it’s being offered to me.

      5. Atalanta*

        I did the same thing to a coworker without thinking about it. I had been trying for weeks to get mine and everyone was booked up solid so when he said he got his, I thought he had some kind of connection. I let apologized once my brain caught up with my mouth. I think we’re all so excited to get the vaccine and have a safer, less quarantined life that sometimes manners go out the window.

      6. Artemesia*

        I could not get an appointment for my husband in his 70s anywhere, but we got an end of the day shot at a Walgreens freed up by no shows by getting on their waiting list at the place I got mine. (I scored an appointment but then just could never get in on line to an open appointment — it was entirely chancey with thousands of people on their computers competing for the available slots)

    6. Delta Delta*

      My observation (at least in my area) is that people are more interested in talking about a) whether they got the vaccine; b) which one; and c) the side effects. And we’ve had nice weather, so it’s mixed with “I really wanted to get out and play tennis but my arm hurt for two days.” (All of a sudden everyone I know plays tennis, which seems to be a side effect on its own) Zero discussion of why the person qualified and lots of discussion of arm soreness.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Yep – this has been my experience so far, I’ve had half a dozen coworkers also volunteer that they’ve gotten one or both doses and it’s all “oh, which one? where did you go? did you have any side effects?”

        1. The Rural Juror*

          Same here. I live in a large(ish) city that doesn’t have a huge amount of suburbs. It’s pretty easy to “get out to a small town” within 20-30 min. A friend made a huge shared document with vaccination locations in those small towns surrounding our city. A LOT of those small towns were having leftover doses at the end of the day, so several of us have been able to get vaccinated by calling around to those places listed on her spreadsheet (*we’re privileged to all have access to transportation and flexibility to jump in the car and go).

          Our conversations have been, “Which one? Side effects? Which town did you have to go to? Did they have a drive-thru or did you have to go inside?” There’s been no conversation about eligibility, but our group has mostly comprised of people searching for leftovers so they won’t go to waste.

          What a system, am I right?

    7. BethDH*

      A friend of mine waited to tell work people until she was two weeks after the second dose and then announced it as “I am now fully vaccinated.” No one asked about the date of the first shot and in their heads she seems categorized with people who got their first shots around when she announced it.

    8. animaniactoo*

      It’s also possible to just say “underlying health conditions” and not be clear about which health conditions. If anyone presses, you can just say “I prefer not to go into that. I consulted with my doctor and s/he agreed that I qualified, so I went ahead in that phase”.

      I qualified on BMI also, but I have other issues – meaning I qualified on 3.5 separate conditions. My team obviously knows my weight. They know I have asthma. They know I have kidney issues. They don’t know I’m on meds for high blood pressure. And they don’t need to. I generically waved and said “the silver lining of not being in great shape” when I qualified in that phase, and advised the other person on my team who has asthma and lives in the same state that he could probably qualify and would just need a note from his doctor if he wanted to sign up then.

    9. TootsNYC*

      there are also places where people get the extra doses at the end. Or participation is low enough that they’re not being very strict about the requirements, just so they can move the doses out and along.

    10. Phony Genius*

      Where I am, most people are eligible, but finding an appointment is difficult. There is a little “how’d you find an appointment when I’ve been trying for days?” going on. Especially from people who would prefer the single-dose vaccine. I think in a month, maybe less, this will fade.

    11. DataGirl*

      Not sure when the letter was written, but some states have already opened up to everyone 16+, and even in states where it isn’t open to all yet- there are plenty of stories of people being in the right place at the right time to receive doses that would otherwise go bad. Probably no one will ask at this point when/why they received their shot(s).

    12. Ann O'Nemity*

      The vaccine rollout in my state has been so disorganized that no one is questioning anyone else’s eligibility. There’s some vaccine jealousy, but the frustration is directed at the government.

    13. sofar*

      Heck, even at this point, so many people are eligible or are picking up spare doses at their local pharmacy at the end of the day that it’s not even surprising anymore, and nobody is very curious as to “how” or “why” someone is vaccinated. I was in one of the clinical trials, so I got vaccinated before most elderly people and health care workers I know. A few months ago, people were VERY surprised to learn I’d been fully vaccinated for a while. Now, if I mention I’m vaccinated, nobody bats an eye, even though I otherwise would not be eligible in my state. In fact, most of the time, the response is, “Cool me too– any weird side effects?”

      I think LW might be surprised to learn that many of her coworkers are “been there, done that” about the vaccine.

    14. FormerTVGirl*

      LW 3 — I qualified early because of medications I’m on longterm. Which meds and why I’m on ’em is no one’s business! I elected to wait to say anything after getting my first shot; now that my state has opened eligibility to everyone, however, I told my coworkers. But before then, I just kept quiet. I can confirm everyone is just as happy for me now as they would have been a month ago and now that everyone qualifies, no one asked me why I did! What you choose to do is just that: your choice.

    15. anonymouse*

      This. Don’t offer information that nobody has a right to know.
      I qualified early, too and told coworkers who would need to know. They are just responding to something you said to acknowledge they heard and understood. They were mostly, “ok, did it hurt? Where you sick after?” stuff that affected them.
      And when someone blurted, “how’d you get it already?” I treated it like any work small talk and deflected.
      “I qualified under the guidelines but it was hard to get an appointment.”
      Which redirected to where I got it. I was and am happy to help people navigate getting appointments (I’d been trying to get my partner and myself appointments for three months before we got in. People who haven’t had to try yet are in for a shock, so again, turned it back to coworkers who more far more interested in how they might get one than in why I did get one.

    16. MurikamisUnicorn*

      I am in the same boat and feel weird about mentioning that my BMI is why I can be vaccinated. I agree that waiting for everyone to be eligible is the more comfortable way to go. Hopefully this wouldn’t happen to anyone else, but when it came up in a meeting I was in with all men, I mentioned I was eligible because of BMI… and the owner of the company asked me “is this your way of telling everyone you’re pregnant?” I’m not, just chubby.

    17. Momma Bear*

      I know some of my coworkers qualified the same way and IMO all that matters is that you qualified and are taking the opportunity. Keep it simple if you answer at all. Sometimes people are just asking b/c they want to know how they can qualify. You can send them to your state/county info page instead of talking about yourself.

  3. Fiona the Baby Hippo*

    #2, I also qualified bc of my BMI and have had mixed feelings about sharing it with people bc of fears of fatphobia and being accused of ‘jumping the line.’ It’s also interesting because I think for those that qualify, it been a huge question of do we accept the shoddy science of BMI to get the shot now, is it buying into fatphobia, etc, and for those with a BMI under 30 they’re just not thinking about it much. An acquaintance also in her 30s straight up asked me if I lied to get it, despite me feeling like my size is a very visible ‘pre-existing condition’ that should have tipped her off. I simply responded, “no i qualified under 1c’ and she didn’t press. hoping for similarly easy convos for you!

    1. Me*

      Our state just opened it up to BMI >25, which is overweight. I really think that at the pace that states will keep changing the criteria so that folks really lose track quickly. Not that it’s any of their business.

      My niece and nephew qualified today. I truly don’t know why, or how, but I also don’t care one bit. I can guess how each of them qualified but it’s not my right to “know” for sure. I wish people would just accept that some folks get a higher priority than others.

      1. Xenia*

        Our state is opening it to everyone over 16 soon since we’re getting a spike in younger cases. Soon most people will qualify for one reason or another and most will hopefully be vaccinated (huzzah!)

      2. NYWeasel*

        I know a few people that outright lied* to get in earlier, and I fully admit it irritated me, but at the same time, the goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and with the increases in supply, the impact to the eligible pools becomes smaller every day. So I was irritated but not infuriated. I also somewhat understood, as my son is an essential worker but not healthcare or education, so he didn’t qualify in our state. I could understand the motivation to try and get him in earlier than his general age group, but luckily he qualifies now.

        (*I know they lied because they shared their ‘strategies’ freely with other friends, and fully admitted that they said things that weren’t true)

        1. Liz*

          I’m torn on this too; on one hand, I know that when you sign up for alerts, or are able to make an appt, its very easy to fib about what is needed to be eligible, and my experience getting it (and I am eligible) was no one checks when you go. All they check is if you are on the list for the time and place you showed up to! nothing more.

          I’m torn because i believe the more people vaccinated, the better, but also the fact there are not “checks” that it opens it up to a lot of deception, i.e. people who are not eligible getting the shot, when those who may need it more, cannot. My BF’s stepson and his gf, who are young, and healthy, both got it, while my BF is still trying to get an appt. He’s definitely eligible. I asked how they got it, and her dad “knew someone”

          But in the end, i know I can’t do anything about it, so I just keep my mouth shut.

          1. Guacamole Bob*

            Yes, I’m very relieved that my state has just opened eligibility to everyone, at least at certain sites, because the questions about eligibility and honesty were becoming pretty tangled. We were hearing “this mass vax site in another part of the state has tons of appointments, please everyone go!” but also hearing that they asked (but did not verify) eligibility once you got there. Another federally-run site was calling the general population folks who’d pre-registered to schedule appointments even though they weren’t yet eligible under the state’s guidelines.

            I was trying to figure out what I felt comfortable with, and what would be jumping the line, but it’s now just open to everyone and that makes it more straightforward.

            1. Liz*

              I got mine through a large healthcare provider in my state, which is co-running a mega vaccination site. I already had a portal account with them, as I had seen doctors there before. Initially they were letting anyone sign up for an account, as well as having appointments on there, but only for the early eligible groups. i guess they were overwhelmed, because now you have to sign up for alerts, and you then get a separate email to make an appointment for the vaccine, as they have more available.

        2. Person from the Resume*

          Jumping the line by lying is unethical. That’s extremely clear to me. Signing up as soon as you are legitimately eligible is ethical. Being on waitlist for “extra” doses and being lucky enough to get called is ethical. Volunteering at a vaccination site to be put on on waitlist for “extra” doses is ethical.

          Soon it will not matter, but when eligibility was limited and appointments were scarce those doses needed to go to those people keeping the healthcare system running and those most vulnerable. There was a very good reason those groups were prioritized. People who unethically jumped ahead of the line are selfish people who do not care about humanity as a whole or those less fortunate/privileged than themselves. And then those who share their strategies because they are proud about jumping the line make it very clear exactly who they are.

          As Maya Angelou said: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

          1. Person*

            Counterpoint: There are a lot of areas, especially more rural ones, where vaccine appointments by the dozen were and are sitting unused. I know a lot of people in my area that fudged their eligibility and drove an hour plus out of town to get vaccinated in areas where appointments were not getting taken. I agree that taking up an appointment slot you’re not eligible for in an area where appointments are scarce is not okay. But there’s more nuance to it than just everyone that did it is selfish.

      3. Blackcat*

        My cousin qualified as a smoker. She’s never been a regular smoker, but was confident her “occasional cigarette at a party” over the last 15 years added up to 100 or more cigarettes, the threshold set by the CDC.
        There are all sorts of reasons right now, and most states will have it open to all adults very soon. I just wouldn’t share yet.

        1. rudster*

          When her health and life insurers get ahold of that info and try rescind her policies because she’s been lying about being a non-smoker, she might just wish she’d waited a few more weeks.

      4. Artemesia*

        At 1c tons of people you would not think would be eligible are — it covers an incredible array of occupations.

        1. JustaTech*

          My cousin, a lawyer, is eligible in her state as of last night, but I, biopharma worker, am not in my state. (It’s fine, I’ve got an appointment for when they open up to all adults next week.)

      5. Lucy P*

        I’m amazed at how differently all of the states seem to be handling eligibility. My state, as backward as it normally is, recently opened it for everyone 16 and over, even the healthy people.
        I’m sorry for everyone who has to justify getting vaccinated, or their choice not to. I hate the further polarization that this is bringing, as well as the intrusiveness into individuals’ lives.
        A month ago, when the state made the vaccine eligible to everyone over 16 with certain underlying conditions, my boss asked me if I was going to get it then. When I said I didn’t qualify they were shocked, but the proceeded to say that they were making their adult offspring get vaccinated then because they were overweight. I hope it was put more gently to the offspring than it sounded the conversation with me. But honestly, I didn’t need to no a reason behind why offspring was getting it or even that fact that they got it.

    2. Edwina*

      All vaccine experts say that in such an enormous rollout, no plan can be “perfect,” and the key is to get as much vaccine into as many arms as possible. So basically, if you can get the vaccine, get the vaccine.

      1. Not Australian*

        Yeah, I’d go with ‘I was offered an appointment and I accepted it; I didn’t ask any questions’.

        1. OhNo*

          This is great phrasing, especially if you’re worried about reactions. Just frame it as your GP or PCP reached out to you, or that you signed up for alerts and got called in. No reason to share the truth, it’s really irrelevant here.

        2. Ann O'Nemity*

          Yeah, this is perfect wording. I’ve heard of several firsthand cases of this actually happening – someone does all the registrations and signs up for all the notifications, and then they get an email out of the blue inviting them to schedule an appointment even though they don’t meet the current eligibility criteria. So yeah, “I was offered an appointment and I accepted it.”

      2. GammaGirl1908*

        This. Hard agree.

        Re “do we accept the shoddy science of BMI to get the shot now, is it buying into fatphobia”

        For starters, the states had to create a tiered system somehow, and I’m not going to be upset with them for including BMI as one of the groups; it is as useful to nitpick BMI of 26 vs 30 vs 34 as it is to nitpick age 60 versus 65 versus 70. But mostly …

        Hot take: I’ll put on my asbestos underwear, but … I frankly no longer really care who gets the shot how. I think people do not need to be waiting six months in martyr-esque fashion for the vaccine when they have a legitimate opportunity now. If there’s a shot that can go in your arm, and you didn’t have to lie, cheat, or steal to get it, I think you should take it. If someone else got a shot, and they did not have to lie, cheat, or steal to get it, I think you should roll with it and not pry or side-eye them about the size of their pants or their bronchial tube medication regimen. I know that it’s not right to excuse or encourage people who found fully fraudulent ways to get in or who fully fraudulently jumped the line. I’m side-eyeing them internally. We’re right back into old patterns of the rich getting their ice in the summer and the poor getting theirs in the winter and that’s 100% not okay. We are still grossly under serving underserved communities and it should and could have been better. But we also have to get there somehow, and we’re in the middle of this mess and we need to keep moving forward, hopefully at a decent clip. At this point, I just want as many people to get jabbed as quickly as possible, and letting a dose go to waste that you could have taken is not getting us there. If you are legitimately eligible for a dose and you don’t take it, it could be wasted and end up in the trash, and you’re not ultimately solving the bigger problem. Someone else might need it, like, 2.3% more, but you need it too if we’re all going to get to the end of this. Go and get your jab, and let someone else move up in the line.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Additional thought I’m keeping in mind: the kind of person who would lie or cheat to get a vaccination might also be the kind of person who would not be observing pandemic guidelines about social distancing, leisure travel, etc. And that’s exactly the kind of person who needs to have been vaccinated for the sake of everyone else.

          I would also not be bothered about someone working with the public jumping the queue (eg someone working in a supermarket, driving a bus, etc) or frankly anyone who would end up homeless if they needed to quarantine.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            I would also not be bothered about someone working with the public jumping the queue (eg someone working in a supermarket, driving a bus, etc)

            This. If you work in a restaurant, or retail, or in a public service position, or any other job where you are a low-paid (and yet “critical”) worker who doesn’t have the power to tell unmasked people to back off, and you manage to get a vaccine before you’re “eligible,” more power to you.

            1. Artemesia*

              Those folks are thankfully covered under 1C. I personally think teachers should have been prioritized so that schools could safely open but at least now that more categories are open most places, they can get the shots. We are past the point where people are likely to question. You don’t have to say WHEN you got your shots, just that you have them.

              1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                That’s good to hear.

                Where I live, health care workers and unpaid (ie family) carers are automatically eligible, but other people in exposed jobs such as teachers, bus drivers, supermarket cashiers, etc are not unless they qualify by virtue of age or underlying health condition.

              2. Eukomos*

                In some places, sure. My partner manages a retail (but not grocery or medical) store, and he’s in Phase 2 in our state along with everyone else. Luckily they went through 1C in like two weeks so there wasn’t too much waiting, but one of his employees absolutely did get sick with something she thinks probably isn’t Covid? Hopefully. Luckily. It could have been. If anyone working at that store exaggerated their medical history a bit to get a shot two weeks early it would have been a completely reasonable act of self-preservation.

          2. shedubba*

            Hard agree with both GG1908 AND GvK. I feel like, in the US, we’re largely past the point of trying to prioritize high risk groups and just trying to get as many shots in arms as possible.

          3. JB (not in Houston)*

            That’s how I feel. I know some people who qualified to get it months ago and got vaccinated then even though they haven’t been taking precautions at all–they go out all the time unmasked and haven’t seemed to alter their lifestyles on bit, and kind of eye roll at other people insisting on masks. If they think the virus isn’t worth making lifestyle changes for, I’m not sure why they thought it mattered to get vaccinated, but I’m glad they did. At first I was furious that they got the vaccines early when they obviously weren’t taking things seriously, and then I decided that the community was better off if they were vaccinated as soon as possible, since they’re going to be out and about breathing on people anyway.

        2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

          I could not agree more. Every shot in an arm is protection for the rest of us, especially young kids who won’t be getting the shot for months or years. I would loooove to be able to take my baby to the grocery store so I’m grateful for each and every one of my neighbors who is getting vaccinated. I don’t care how.

        3. Jules the 3rd*

          I had a big argument with my friends (via facebook) on this, about white people from our wealthy county not driving an hour or two to poorer, more racially diverse counties and taking up appointments there.

          The next day, I ate my words – the very counties we were arguing about had to turn away vax doses because not enough people were making appointments, and one of them announced they were opening eligibility to everyone, same reason.

          At this point, in my US state, get it if you can. They’re opening up to everyone over 16 tomorrow.

          I am still encouraging the lawmakers / organizers to look for better outreach options for poorer / non-white communities, and telling people that not missing appointments is super important, but other than that, if you can, do it.

          For OP, give it two weeks and no one will wonder how you qualified – Biden just announced he’s going to recommend opening it to everyone over 16 by Apr 19th.

    3. Double A*

      This is actually the only reasonable use of BMI I’ve really ever seen; it’s a crap statistic for any given individual, but can tell you some things at a population level. One thing it’s told us at a population level is that people with a higher BMI are at higher risk of serious covid. Just like knowing someone is over 65 doesn’t mean you know anything about their health or risk of serious covid as an individual, it makes sense to use that metric for vaccine purposes. I hope people can stop feeling weird about it!

      1. LDF*

        Thank you for this. I seriously don’t understand why so many people have angst about qualifying through BMI. It’s problematic for your primary care physician to ignore your individual situation because of your BMI but vax eligibility is about population risk levels and it’s not fatphobic to say “higher BMI is correlated with worse covid outcomes so give them the vaccine now”. The whole point of broad eligibility criteria is to avoid the need for a deep personalized screening and just have vaguely reasonable guidelines that are easy to apply. BMI is a vaguely reasonable guideline that’s easy to apply. It’s fine. Get your shots!

        1. WS*

          Well, BMI is used inappropriately and as a weapon 99% of the time, so that’s why my reaction to qualifying for something through BMI is negative even though I qualify in three other ways at the same time. Just because the hammer isn’t hitting me this time doesn’t mean that I’m not wincing when somebody’s swinging it around! (And yes, I agree that it’s being used appropriately this time!)

        2. Keymaster of Gozer*

          It’s….complex. Basically I’ve had a year of people saying ‘fat people die of Covid because it’s all their own fault they’re fat’ (or similar) so being assessed by one’s body weight in the ‘obese’ category can still feel like a punch on an open wound – I’m subconsciously bracing for ‘how come those fat lazy ****s get the vaccine before us healthy people?’ most of the time.

          It’s illogical! I know better than most how medical trials et al use BMI as a population sorting system and at that level it’s an acceptable algorithm. And I know with 100% certainty that we’re never gonna get outta this mess until we get enough of the population vaccinated, and I’m pro vaccine allll the way.

          Bloody emotions though.

          1. Snow Globe*

            Captain Awkward wrote in a recent column about getting the vaccine, and commented about using BMI to get the vaccine, that basically people with high BMI are usually at a disadvantage and discriminated against because of it; if this one time it gives you an advantage, take it!

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              The one and only time the medical profession has actually NOT given me grief about my weight. Maybe it’s a trend that’ll continue?

              (Ha! I laugh. They regularly state I MUST have diabeties due to weight and refuse to do anything else till the tests come back negative. Again)

          2. Mockingdragon*

            Yeah, exactly. I feel the same way. I wish I hadn’t, but when I pre-registered I didn’t count myself as eligible due to BMI even though I am. I just knee-jerk reacted into not counting obesity in and of itself as a condition. I wish I’d just sucked it up, but I’m in the best health of my life and I got all kinds of messed up in the head about the idea of saying I’m not because I’m fat.

        3. Jaydee*

          Internalized fatphobia is a big reason that it’s hard to just say “hey, I have a condition that makes me higher risk.”

          On the one hand, we’ve often been told that obesity is not a health condition, it’s a moral failing and we could be skinnier if we just tried harder/ate less/weren’t so lazy.

          On the other hand, we’ve often had to argue that obesity is not a health condition because people are not inherently less healthy just because they have larger bodies (see, for example the Health At Every Size movement).

          I had to unpack all of that just to convince *myself* – not even other people – that I “deserve” to get the vaccine when the only reason I’m eligible for it is the ratio of my weight to my height.

          Yes, I realize it’s not about “deserving” the vaccine. And yes, I realize there are reasons that higher BMI – whether due to fat or muscle mass – can contribute to higher risk of severe infection or death from COVID. And yes, I realize that it’s been almost a year since my last weight loss lecture from my doctor…er, annual checkup, and maybe I’ve suddenly developed high blood pressure or pre-diabetes since then, which would further increase my risk. Those are all rational thoughts that ultimately weigh in favor of getting the shot. But it’s still hard to overcome 25+ years of hearing both directly and indirectly that being fat is bad and that it is also a choice and that I should not be ‘rewarded’ for my bad choice to be fat.

      2. middle name danger*

        There’s been plenty of studies shown that obese people get denied medical care at higher rates than people with “healthy” BMI, so I urged people who qualified to take it based on that alone and stop feeling guilty. Even if the covid case itself is not more serious, someone with a high BMI might be dismissed when they need to be admitted to a hospital. Shortness of breath is blamed on weight, not illness.

        1. Anon Moose*

          THIS. Shortness of breath blamed on weight – delays treatment
          Unwilling, unequipped, understaffed to flip people into supine position – delays treatment
          Pushed down the priority list for emergency treatment – denied treatment
          slightly more complicated to ventilate so wait as long as possible – delayed treatment

          It all plays into those outcomes!

        2. Marillenbaum*

          Exactly. Getting vaccinated sooner is about protecting myself from a fatphobic medical establishment, in the same way getting vaccinated sooner as a Black person is about protecting myself from a racist medical establishment.

      3. Artemesia*

        And we don’t know why some 65 year olds apparently in good health die and others don’t, but we do know that age is a strong correlate as is weight and diabetes and heart disease. As a public health screen it is the best we can do in a mass campaign like this.

    4. Baffled Teacher*

      I am also obese. I ended up qualifying under being a teacher, but what convinced me to make an appointment was someone on a comment thread saying “you know how you can be treated as a fat person by doctors when you’re mostly healthy—now imagine that you’re alone in the hospital with serious covid and no one to advocate for you.” I signed up that night.

      1. CoveredInBees*

        Yup. I qualified for the shot because of my weight and felt so shitty about it. Then, I thought of all the times I was treated like crap because of my weight, even when my BMI was “normal”. Excuse me, doc, I’m here because my colleague refuses to take sick days and gave me strep. This has nothing to do with the many donuts you imagine I’m eating without asking.

      2. A big 'un*

        Yeah, half of my terror of this disease has been about being stuck in the hospital with no advocate and getting the same crap treatment I get the rest of the time. Knowing I’d be at the mercy of a system that wishes I didn’t exist means I haven’t left my home for most of the past year except to get that shot.

    5. Workerbee*

      Our state opened up to BMI starting at 25 as well, and we are the kind of state where people here just say, “That means everyone will get vaccinated!” Not quite gallows humor, but still.

      1. Blackcat*

        I saw someone say online “Don’t look a gift comorbidity in the mouth.” But yeah, the BMI>25 means more than half of people (total, including all comorbidities) are now eligible.

      2. Clara*

        Our state has opened up to BMI over 25, everyone who lives in a household with a frontline workers, and a half dozen similar criteria. I was like, wait, at this point I think the Health Authority might literally have qualified everyone except one guy named like Ted who someone there is mad about. Sorry, Ted, go wait your turn.

    6. Person from the Resume*

      I don’t understand the concern. I happily joked to friends and family that fat was finally serving a purpose when I qualified for the vaccine with a pre-existing condition. It’s not like anyone looks at me and thinks I’m skinny or anyone paying attention to my body (that could possibly just be me) hasn’t notice I’ve gained weight over the past few years.

      You don’t have to share if you don’t want. But if you want to share the news (and I wanted to share my happiness far and wide when I was vaccinated), you can just vaguely tell people you have qualified under one of the pre-existing conditions if they ask. If they try to get nosy just say something that brushes them off about not sharing further medical details.

      Or just wait long enough to for everyone to eligible and celebrate you’re fully vaccinated with coworkers then.

      1. Anononon*

        I don’t understand what you don’t understand? We live in a very fat-shaming society, and a lot of the hate has been internalized by many people. Having to acknowledge and affirm that you’re fat, even if it’s just to an online eligibility questionnaire can be difficult for many people because there’s such a moral value assigned to weight. It’s not always logical, but many emotional things aren’t.

    7. Cat Tree*

      I’ve hovered around the obesity threshold most of my life, and I had overbearing parents who made sure I was very aware of my fat even as a teen when I barely met the lower overweight threshold. So I can relate to feeling like my size is very visible. But I would bet your friend truly doesn’t realize you are obese. Part of fat-shaming in our culture is portraying obese people in general with only with the largest people that fit the stereotype. And not only is that problematic for those targeted people, it also erases the variety among obese people. It’s very common for people to have a skewed perception and be genuinely surprised to find out that their friends are classified as obese.

    8. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      It’s the only time in my life that being fat was an advantage. I took the opportunity to get the vaccine. All this moral handwringing and dissection is kind of tiresome at this point. Just get it when you can, and if anyone asks you either have a vague answer (oh, I got a call offering me the shot so I got it) or just don’t say anything.

      I really don’t think that being able to get the vaccine is something that needs to be announced or that we should expect congratulations for, to be frank. Although it would be kind of funny to start passing out cards like valentines now.

    9. StripesAndPolkaDots*

      My husband and I got ours bc of bmi—overweight and obese were eligible in our state. I told all of my Instagram! I wanted everyone possible to know that, here, if they wear plus-sized clothes they may be eligible for the vaccine and might not even know! A few people signed up once they found out through me.

    10. JJ*

      You could always just say you got called from a waitlist for leftover vaccines, WHY you got the vaccine is no one’s business and they deserve a lie if they ask.

    11. Littorally*

      Agreed. I qualified due to my weight, and the tack I’ve chosen to take with myself and others is that I want to be vaccinated due to being at high risk of medical discrimination. I don’t give a s**t about BMI because it’s a broken mess but I do care about putting my life in the hands of someone who is likely to consider me less worth saving than others.

    12. Jaydee*

      I spent 25 years hating myself for being fat (I wasn’t even fat all of those years). I have many complicated thoughts about BMI and fatphobia. But did I write “obesity” on the vaccine consent form with zero shame? Hell yes, I did!

      I don’t know if I, personally, am one of the fat people who would die from COVID any more than a 70 year old can know if they, personally are one of the older adults who would die or if a person with heart disease can know if they, personally would die from it. But I also don’t want to be stubborn and find out the hard way.

      I’m not going to run around announcing why I was eligible for the vaccine. But I also wouldn’t do that if I had a different underlying health condition or if I were a caregiver for an older adult or other at-risk person, or whatever. People who question someone else’s eligibility are nosy jerks. Who made them the vaccine police? Why a person qualifies for the vaccine is between them and the person with the needle asking them to roll up a sleeve.

    13. Absurda*

      I also qualified under my BMI and I, too, have mixed feelings about it. I figure if anyone asks I’d just tell them I have a risk factor. None of their business which one it is. There’s so much judgement against people who are overweight that I did worry about being morally judged for getting the vaccine under 1c. At the end of the day, though, it’s only slightly ahead of general availability and I’m not jumping the line; I legitimately signed up in accordance with the guidelines.

      This is likely to be the only benefit being overweight will ever give me so I took advantage of it.

    14. Pam Poovey*

      I looked at it as finally letting medical fat phobia do something good for me for once after years of unmitigated cruelty and bullshit.

  4. Jessica Fletcher*

    #2 – Yeah, you don’t need to explain why you qualified to get the vaccine. If you qualified because you had liver disease, you wouldn’t announce that you have liver disease. You’re probably overthinking it because you’re understandably afraid of experiencing fatphobic remarks from your coworkers, who I’m guessing haven’t treated you badly so far in your working relationship. It’s a gut punch to suddenly hear it from people you trusted, so I get it!

    If you want to volunteer to go into the office periodically, just do it without explaining! If anyone asks, you could say “I feel comfortable with my risk level” without saying you’re vaccinated, or use Alison’s suggestion.

    There’s no shame in getting your vaccine, though. If the medical field insists on using the completely unscientific BMI to pathologize body size diversity, if we have to live with all the cruddy effects of the cultural hatred for fat people, then hey, we’re at least gonna get a life saving vaccine out of it.

    1. Reluctant Manager*

      I was worried about this same thing, not with my colleagues but with friends. Turns out I was one of the last to be vaccinated–one with a condition I knew about, 2 through work, and 2 because I don’t know why. In a lot of places, the rate of vaccination has ticked way up recently. Also, the groups are getting bigger, so the day you became eligible probably all the asthmatics and diabetics and people with hypertension did.

      1. CoveredInBees*

        Yup. Technically, everyone in my state who is 16+ will be eligible in a few weeks, but they recently expanded eligibility so widely that there would be very few people left besides unemployed high school students who have no medical issues.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I received the same email today from a local grocery store.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Obese BMI here, and agree, I wouldn’t tell anybody at work *why* I qualified. I firmly believe that me telling people I’ve had the vaccine is a good thing (that’s me trying to quell fears of vaccines, personal choice though and not for everyone, I get that) but details as to why?

      Nah. I’m at the point where over half the people I know have had at least one dose and aside from my parents (both nearly 70) I don’t know exactly why they qualified either.

      Now if someone at work asked me if it was because of my weight….then it’s time for ye olde British sarcasm.

    3. Zelda*

      I have had good success in the past with the phrase “eh, some medical crap that you’re happier not knowing about.” (Edit the diction there as appropriate for your workplace, but we were pretty casual.) It is a gentle alert that we have ended up too close to stuff that is none of my boss’s beeswax, and reasonable people will heed the Do Not Enter sign.

    4. Gina*

      Saying “I’m comfortable with my risk level” without saying you have been vaccinated could come across as uncomfortable with people who are asserting that they do not feel comfortable. If someone at my office was acting like it was okay, and the bosses were using that as the template, the clarification of having a vaccine makes more sense so other workers aren’t being gaslit about their risk.

    1. RB*

      I am wondering how the boss kept her from taking her kid to the hospital. If we’re talking an emergency room situation, and not an urgent care situation, that’s a leave-work-now-provide-explanations-later scenario. Maybe her husband was available to do it? That wasn’t quite clear.

      1. Mark Roth*

        I have to assume the husband was available and the boss wouldn’t “let” her go.

        If my wife’s boss did what he did, I wouldn’t have called. But if I screwed up and did; and he he demanded I show up…I would not accept a chastisement. He would be getting an earful of why he was wrong. And since I don’t work for him. I would not show any deference.

        My wife would be more likely to lose the job if she made me come in.

        1. MK*

          That assumes the “privileged” position of your family not being dependent on your wife’s salary, at least for immediate living expenses. Not everyone can do that.

          1. Asenath*

            Well, the salary’s gone anyway, unless the wife is being paid while under suspension. Sometimes there’s nothing much to lose.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Well, in theory, groveling might get the job reinstated/suspension lifted, rather than getting fired — so still something big to lose. Hard for me to say not knowing the boss. Granted, I think people are right — it might be too late, this boss sucks, etc. — but OP might not have the flexibility or luxury of walking away from this job.

        2. Forrest*

          If your first thought in this situation isn’t, “What does my wife want me to do and how do I support her despite her shitty boss” that’s not great!

          1. Lady Meyneth*

            You have a point, but I’d be hard pressed to see it that way if it happened to my family. My husband’s job is his business to handle, but if his boss invited me, hell, *demanded* I speak with them after a situation like this, while holding his paycheck hostage? Then it’d become my business, subject to my boundaries too, not just my spouse’s.

            I would warn my husband he’d likely not have a job after I talked to boss, but I wouldn’t be able to not say what I needed to say, so husband’s decision would be only wether or not he wanted me to meet with boss. And either way, I’d be *strongly* encouraging him to get another job, any other job, right now.

            1. Rusty Shackelford*

              I agree. I don’t think my husband griping to my boss would be him “supporting” me, nor would it be what I “want him to do.”

        3. Not A Girl Boss*

          I think the husband calling is an example of how toxic workplaces can really screw up your entire sense of normalcy.
          I mean, sure, maybe the husband is generally a huge over-stepper and would do this in a ‘normal’ workplace over mild things.
          But, when workplaces way over-insert themselves into employees personal lives, I think it invites this weird entanglement between work and home where these things start to feel much more normal than they should. Like the job is a toxic extended family with people calling to gossip and fight with each other, instead of a relationship only between employee and company.

      2. John Smith*

        Yep. One of a number of situations where you tell your boss what you are going to do. Not ask them. Any boss who tries to say no is a boss not worth working for. Asking for husband to come in is just laughable. I don’t suppose OP’s husband is built like a brick shithouse is he? I’d love to see your bosses face when confronted!

      3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        The only thing I can think is if it was a coverage issue. Maybe LW was the sole lighthousekeeper on duty at that time.

        But yes – any boss worthy of the name would have said, “Yes, go, go, message me later!”

      4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        The only thing I can think is if it was a coverage issue. Maybe LW was the sole lighthousekeeper on duty at that time.

        But yes – any boss worthy of the name would have said, “Yes, go, go, message me later!”

      5. MK*

        It would depend on the job, though, there are plenty of positions where just leaving your post might endanger other people and/or leave you open to civil and criminal liability (extreme example, but a kindergarten teacher on a field trip with her class can hardly abandon a group of 5-year-olds in a museum, whatever the personal emergency).

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yes, but if it was that sort of situation I would think the LW would have mentioned it and not felt like her boss was *completely* out of line. People working in those industries are usually pretty accustomed to making stressful compromises between work and family/personal needs.

        2. adk*

          A kindergarten teacher on a field trip with her class is also not alone with 30 5-year-olds, but probably has at least 5 other adults with her, so she Could (theoretically) leave the museum in a life-or-death emergency. “You, Mrs. Smith, you’re in charge now. The bus leaves at 3pm from the place we got dropped off. I’ll text you when I get in the Uber.”

      6. Stacey*

        I was wondering if she works in the service industry. During my days waiting tables, I would have had to ask my boss for permission to leave for a family emergency. Not saying it’s right, but that was the expectation for leaving mid-shift. If I would have left without getting it approved, that would have been seen as walking off the job. If they rely on her salary, it’s not as cut and dry as telling the boss instead of asking

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I assumed service industry, too. The OP probably had to ask for permission to leave/if there was coverage.

          A good boss would have called someone in or covered the shift themselves. But this doesn’t sound like a good boss. (The husband was also wrong to call the boss & complain, but I understand the emotion involved.)

        2. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

          I also was thinking service industry (or retail), and could easily see a situation where LW was not even in the loop about her child being sick until after the fact. If LW was on the floor and couldn’t have her phone, then the only way to reach her would be for her husband to call the workplace. It’s not hard to think the situation was some version of school calls husband as emergency contact, husband is out of town so he (or the school) calls LW’s workplace. Whoever is answering phones tells boss about LW’s child, boss says no way and tells them to hang up on husband. And husband, completely justifiably and understandably, calls back, asks for a manager, and gives him a “my guy, WTF” speech.

    2. Pennyworth*

      I wonder if LW1’s husband could send a letter of apology to her boss – something along the lines of ”I realize it was inappropriate for me to contact you concerning my wife. I would like to apologize and assure you it will not happen again”.

      1. WellRed*

        Nope. As Alison says, the wife needs to address this, not the interfering husband. It’s the wife’s job, the wife’s relationship with the ass of a boss.

    3. Ann O'Nemity*

      “Your boss sucks, and isn’t going to change.”

      It’s like the Ask a Manager version of DTMFA.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        I know. Sometimes I feel a little weak sauce trotting it out, but sometimes it just really suits the occasion.

  5. Anony*


    Another option is possibly lie? Under the BMI I’m considered obese but i qualified via a different group.

    Anyways. I’m currently working at a vaccination site and one of the things I realized is that several of them do end-of-day vaccinations. Where leftover vaccinations can go to anyone, whether they are currently eligible to schedule or not. A few don’t advertise like the site that I’m at because we are still developing a way to do so without being overwhelmed by a waitlist and trying to figure out who’d be in charge of it. So right now it’s been by word of mouth and literally walking around to parking lots and buildings asking if anyone wants a vaccine. So it’s possible local ones might be doing something similar while they figure out how to best get the word out.

    It’s just an option. Whatever the reason it isn’t anyone’s business to know but I’ve also ran into people who “just really want to know what’s going on”.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You don’t need to lie though, because you really don’t need to give a reason at all! It’s better to not play into the idea that anyone is entitled to know your private medical information.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Do the old English trick: change topic of conversation to the weather instead of giving a reason. May depend upon location.

      2. BRR*

        It’s the same to me as saying you need to take a sick day vs describing your symptoms or saying you’ll be off for a doctors appointment vs saying “I’m going to see my optometrist and will be getting my eyes dilated.” Just say “I qualified under the states criteria.”

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Just say “I qualified under the states criteria.”

          How about “I sat in the wrong chair at the doctor’s office the other day”?

      3. CircleBack*

        Yes you really don’t need to lie! With friends/family I’ve just been saying that I got the vaccine through my doctor’s office as my tip-off to them that I qualified for medical reasons. No one has pressed on why I’m eligible for the vaccine even though I’ve kept “medical condition” in my back pocket.

      4. Jaydee*

        I’m a big fan of willfully misunderstanding the question. I would personally love to have this type of conversation.

        Nosy coworker: “But how did *you* get the vaccine?”

        Me (very matter-of-fact): “It was kind of a pain trying to find an appointment, but once I got one scheduled it was easy. I showed up and gave them my paperwork. They took me in a little room, verified my name and birthdate, and asked me which arm. Then I took off my jacket and they gave me the jab and put a bandaid on and told me to wait for 15 minutes in case I had an allergic reaction.”

        Nosy coworker: “No, but why did *you* get a vaccine?”

        Me (perplexed): “Umm…where have you been for the last year?! Covid is awful. I don’t want to get it. I definitely don’t want to die from it. And I don’t want to spread it around.”

        Nosy coworker (getting frustrated): “But how were you *eligible* for the vaccine?”

        Me (back to matter-of-fact): “Well, I met the eligibility criteria. As they start to get through each group and more vaccines are made available, they expand the criteria to more and more people. So when I met the criteria, I started looking for appointments and got the vaccine.”

        Nosy coworker (now super exasperated): “Yes, I know how it works! But which eligibility criteria did you meet?!?!”

        Me (clutching pearls I wore just for this): “Well I don’t see how that’s any of your business! How nosy!”

        1. DJ*

          I’d come out with the non of your business comment if they kept digging after the umm where have you been the last year answer

    2. RB*

      Vagueness is your friend here. Or just don’t bring it up until later when so many more groups have qualified, that they won’t know which group you were in.

    3. Cambridge Comma*

      The trouble with that is if the coworkers start trying to find leftover vaccines because OP introduces the idea and it isn’t applicable in their area. It causes admin hassle for the vaccinators and wastes the time of the colleagues.

      1. MsClaw*

        That is not on OP though. The coworkers are free to speculate as to why OP got their vaccine, but OP has absolutely zero obligation to tell them how/why they were eligible and it’s frankly incredibly rude to ask.

    4. Indigo a la mode*

      There are so many ways you can qualify for the vaccine that being vague should be more than enough. I qualified because I volunteer with the social services system. A friend who works in environmental consulting qualified because she works with ag companies. A friend’s parents qualified because they volunteer with homeless people. You don’t have to have a medical condition to be eligible and even if you do, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just saying “I’m eligible under Tier 1” or whatever should suffice. Like others have said, we’re only a week or two out from everyone being eligible, so pretty soon people won’t care at all.

  6. Eukomos*

    For #2, I’d skip the “I qualify under this phase” because it’s dodging the question hard enough to draw attention. I’d go for a breezy “I’ve got an underlying condition.” It answers the question, but also doesn’t give out very specific personal info. Then if someone asks “which condition?” it’s time for “uh, that’s kind of personal.” They end up being cornered into asking more obviously intrusive questions and you don’t sound less comfortable answering than someone who got it because they have any other medical risk factor.

    1. Reluctant Manager*

      One of my colleagues just said, “I don’t know exactly, but when the doctor’s office called, I said sign me up!”

      1. Insert Clever Name Here*

        My 65 year old parents got the vaccine before my 85 year old grandparents truly because their doctor’s office called and said “we have the vax, do you want it?” So this is indeed a thing that happens!

      2. CircleBack*

        That was basically me to my family! I didn’t actually realize I qualified for the 1st stage until I got the automatic notification from the system my doctor works in. So I told people I got the vaccine through my doctor’s office, and that was enough for the curious since they really just want to know how to get it so they can try themselves/give advice to others.

        1. DJ*

          Good point as some ppl just want to know how to access it. More reason to choose not to disclose if you’re from a priority group and knowing how you’d gotten access would not help that person anyhow!!

      3. Natalie*

        This is literally what happened to me, about a week before appointments opened up for everyone in our state. AFAIK I don’t have any qualifying medical conditions, but they sent out a survey a bit ago asking about all kinds of potential qualifications so I imagine it was something on that survey. I don’t care and I didn’t ask.

        1. Artemesia*

          in my late 70s I still found my own appointment on line a full month before my doctor’s office notified me of availability — and I get care through a major hospital network in our big city. It is easy where we are to get a vaccine if eligible but 2 mos ago it was very very difficult and you had to be computer savvy and assertive to find one — and this of course disadvantaged those who are poor, poorly educated or without computers and computer savvy.

          to make matters worse the CEO and COO of the hospital in the minority section of town that was privileged with lots of vaccine to serve this underserved group instead gave it to their friends, families and suburban church members rather than the population it was earmarked for.

          1. Tired of Covid-and People*

            Hello fellow metro Chicago resident! I knw exactly the hospital situation you are referring to and it is reprehensible.

            I still think the most disadvantaged of all are homeless people. How do they schedule appointments and receive notifications? That, and homebound people.

            1. Natalie*

              I can’t speak to Chicago specifically, but in general there are vaccine supplies going to federal public health programs specifically to reach otherwise hard to reach populations, such as unhoused people. This is a great advantage of the single dose vaccine, it’s both easier to store and doesn’t require follow up after several weeks with people who can be quite transient.

            2. Clara*

              My state has been trying to reserve Johnson and Johnson for populations that are hard to schedule like houseless people – they qualified relatively early and they’re trying to do specific vaccination outreach events for them.

      4. Danielle*

        My state (Virginia) has a state-wide registry for folks interested in vaccination. You give your contact info and minor medical info (do you have condition X? Y?) and then based on what phase your area is in, the health department contacts you to sign up for a vaccine clinic.

        I know for a fact that I got pushed to the top of the list because of my BMI and prediabetes; but I don’t wanna get into that at work. So I’ve just been responding to “HOW” with “I dunno. I just signed up for the state registry and then they called me!”

    2. 'Tis Me*

      Or a cheerful “Oh I’m fine, nothing to worry about, thanks! But apparently it means I qualify already.”

      It similarly deflects, but instead of making the person asking feel wrong-footed and intrusive, it gives just as little information whilst assigning more benevolent motivations to them for asking.

    3. CatPerson*

      I really don’t think it’s anyone business. Simply “I’m vaccinated, so happy!” and leave it at that. If someone asks, simply say “Why would you ask me that?” and move on to another subject.

      1. Eukomos*

        They’re probably asking because they’re making conversation or are trying to figure out how to get themselves and their loved ones vaccinated. They’re thinking of themselves, or working on autopilot, they’re not intending to invade your privacy. If you get defensive before they’re really prying then that might invite them to start wondering what has you all worked up, so instead of deflecting inappropriate interest in your medical history you end up creating it. And since this is at work, OP may well need these people to be in a cooperative mood, not stinging from an unexpected social wrist slap, so best to avoid it if possible in that situation.

    4. WorkingGirl*

      Honestly i don’t even…. go out of my way to tell people I’m vaccinated???

      It’s personal medical info. I’ve told a few family members and two friends in my same zipcode (who had asked if i knew about registration thru our city). But like, I just don’t engage in vax small talk with people I’m not close to or who don’t need to know.

      1. Artemesia*

        We are socializing with other fully vaccinated peers so everyone is being very open about their vaccination status/schedule. We also helped each other find vaccinations when they were hard to come by.

    5. Yorick*

      I think when people ask “how did you get it” they actually want to know how you signed up, because they’re trying to get appointments for themselves and/or their family members. So you could just talk about that.

      You don’t need to say you have an underlying condition. That’s vague enough that you might feel comfortable with it, but it’s still not somebody’s business.

    6. Not trying to be rude, just good at it*

      I signed up and got my shots in an area where getting the shots are difficult.

      I am constantly asked “Did you get your shot?”

      My response is, “I’m on the list.”

      Repeat as often as necessary.

  7. Artemesia*

    5. A company will always do what is in their best interest. It was in their best interest to give you a contract rather than a full time job; they feel they need to post it now, with no guarantee they would hire you. If a company sees benefit in laying you off tomorrow, they do it. Never sacrifice your interests out of ‘loyalty’ to a job; jobs have no ‘loyalty’ to you. You wanted to work in this other field and you have the chance — do what YOU think benefits you in the long run. And do not assume you have that job they are posting at your contracting. company.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      do not assume you have that job they are posting at your contracting company.

      This. If you’re happy with the job offer, and the rest is just an invitation to interview, take the offer. This is the time not to let go of a sure thing that you love for an unsure thing that you like. Your job will find someone to replace you and be fine.

      1. Willis*

        I’m not sure when would be a time to turn down an offer you’d love for a possibility you’d like. It just doesn’t make sense. I think OP should accept the new position without guilt and give her current place notice so they won’t make any (further?) assumptions or plans around OP being there.

    2. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

      +1 to this

      Yep never assume you have an internal job that’s been posted even if it’s the one you’re already doing. I’ve been burned before by this.

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        I am currently on an unexpected detour in my career path because of this. I interviewed for the job I had held for about 5 years and won company awards for…and didn’t get it.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I interviewed for the job I had held for about 5 years and won company awards for…and didn’t get it.

          The cynic in me has come to believe those awards are more about retention than they are about recogintion.

      2. Hil*

        This! Declining an offer you like for the *possibility* of an offer you like less is not disloyal. The company has not given you an offer. They have done nothing to earn your loyalty. I understand not wanting to put stress on coworkers, but rest assured they wouldn’t derail their own careers for your convenience.

        They saw you work for seven months. They did not make a job offer. They are likely interviewing other candidates. Unless there’s some very strict internal policies around job postings, I’d bet they’re looking for a better fit. Imagine how you’d feel if after declining a job in your dream industry these people don’t even give you an offer. Accept that there’s a very real chance of that happening. If they wanted to prevent this situation, they could have.

    3. Weekend Please*

      Yes. They could have gone the temp to perm route and offered you the job without posting it. They didn’t. You never owe it to anyone to apply for a job.

      1. EPLawyer*

        THIS. If they wanted you to have the job, they wouldn’t have posted it. Or if they HAD to post it due to some policy, they would have told you that, or at least heavily hinted at it. They decided they wanted the POSITION to be a permanent one. They did not decide they wanted YOU to be permanent.

        Take the job offer.

    4. Snow Globe*

      I thought it was interesting that the LW said that “I feel like I need to go through with submitting my application at least.” LW, don’t fill out an application just to be polite if you really don’t want the job; that’s really not helping either you or your current company.

      1. Artemesia*

        and it is good to make the statement ‘if you wanted me in that position, you would have offered it to me’ by not applying and accepting the other job. I cannot imagine feeling obligated to apply for a job you are already doing when you have a real permanent job offer.

    5. BRR*

      I was very surprised when I hit the point in the letter where company A posted the job. I thought the lw was going to be given some empty promises by company A about how “they’re working on it” or how the LW wants to stay with company A. If they’re swamped and making long term plans that involve you, then they should offer you the job. Accept the offer from company b and enjoy your new job!

    6. Cat Tree*

      Also, it’s not LW’s job to make things work for the rest of her team. Someone who gets paid significantly more money is responsible for keeping things running and keeping the rest of the team satisfied enough to stick around. It’s helpful to mentally shift that burden to the person who literally gets paid to do that.

      1. irene adler*

        This! So much this!!!

        Put the burden where it belongs. Don’t take on burdens you don’t have to.

      2. Hil*

        And remember that if your team members were offered jobs they preferred, the vast majority of them would take those jobs. Your needs would not be a factor. These are not your partners or your best friends. Do not change your life plans to make theirs easier.

    7. Super Duper*

      This. I was in a similar place a few years ago – temporary position, company dithered about finding the budget to make it permanent, lots of internal politics, they finally posted it, had me formally apply and interview, I got the job. But by that point I was so burned out by the terrible management at the company that I started looking for other jobs pretty much right away, and left 6 months later. No regrets! Employment is a business relationship, and you can behave with integrity while still looking out for your own best interests.

  8. WS*

    I’m in Australia so my round of eligibility has just started, but I’m eligible under four different criteria and only one of them is my weight. “I was eligible in this round” should be enough and “For a medical condition” will be enough.

    1. Canadian Valkyrie*

      I agree – a lot of the medical conditions are not only the ones which are visible (eg I believe people who have autoimmune disorders are eligible where I live) and therefore saying “I got vaccinated” shouldn’t seem odd to anyone, because it’s not necessarily due to BMI. If anyone asked I think I’d be like “that’s really none of your business”.

      1. AnonInCanada*

        Or what OP could say is (as it was in my case) “I’m living in what is considered a high risk area for the virus, which qualified me to get one.” Nothing need more be said there!

  9. Vaccination Train*

    Probably an unpopular opinion, but I’m conflicted about this whole vaccination enthusiasm train everyone is riding. Now, I’m all for the vaccine. I would encourage folks to get it. But, I feel more than mildly uncomfortable with people regularly sharing the status of their vaccinations. On one hand, information is great. On the other hand, at some point, this feels like passive aggressive bullying. Either folks run along the lines of “we’re not telling you to get the vaccine, but if you don’t/can’t get it, we don’t mind making you feel bad about it.” Or there’s this whole other tangent of the population that likes to guilt people who got the vaccine for reasons they don’t think are worthy. Best way to end this argument of who should or should not / could or could not/ would or would not get the vaccine is to stop announcing one’s medical choices to folks you wouldn’t normally discuss your health with.

    And just for the record, I support the vaccination efforts. I believe folks should get vaccinated. I believe folks need to be educated and informed and personal experience can support that. I also think at some point, it reaches critical mass and it becomes less about information and becomes this bubble of like-minded individuals preaching to the choir, patting themselves on the back and ignoring the very real issues that those outside their understanding might have.

    Apologies to LW2, I recognize that I co-opted your letter and made this about an issue I have. But, it’s something that’s been on my mind

    1. BuildMeUp*

      It makes me really happy to see people posting about getting the vaccine on social media! It’s wonderful to know that so many people are going to be safer.

      Also, I know people who are unsure about whether to get the vaccine right away or say they might wait until the vaccines are fully FDA approved. I think that it makes those people more likely to get it, and hopefully get it sooner, to see so many of their friends and family getting it.

      1. Cat Tree*

        My neighbor qualifies due to smoking, and he’s an essential employee so his risk of exposure is high. He was “hesitant” to get the vaccine. I didn’t pry, just mentioned in passing conversations (vaccines are relevant to my job). So I don’t know that he definitely refused it but I would be surprised if he got it.

        We have a shared wall and I have heard him coughing severely for several days, and his car hasn’t left during that time. I’m really worried for him and hoping that it’s not Covid, just vacation days and a smoker’s cough. But if it is Covid, I really wish someone had been able to convince him to get the vaccine. He doesn’t deserve to go through this – nobody does. So if sharing my vaccination status can convince more people to get the vaccine, I’ll gladly do it. For many people, the personal experience of someone they know has more of an impact than all the research statistics.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I’m of a different viewpoint: I like to share my vaccination status to quell the fears of those who think it was rushed with no testing/worse than the virus/dangerous technology/gives you autism etc.etc. None of these are true of course but a surprising number of people I know believe this. So when I’m here, still alive and fine it’s a reassurance. One hopes.

      1. Seashells*

        Where I work, we have a group of people who are vehemently against the COVID vaccine. I’ve heard everything from it changes your DNA, it causes 4 types of tissue damage including your brain, it doesn’t protect you after 3 months and “my personal physician did not get it and he recommends his patients not get it”. So I decided to not tell anyone other than my boss that I was getting vaccinated and we have been back in the office since June of last year anyway.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          I’ve got a lot of respect for your self control. I have absolutely no respect or patience for people spreading covid misinformation (about the virus, the vaccine, whatever). Got rather notorious for it at work actually after telling a few people to shut the heck up.

        2. Tess*

          *sigh* It is maddening that some people allow themselves to be so gullible to such nonsense. You’re a better person than me, Seashells, as by now, I’d have been playing albums backwards on the company intercom just for the pure entertainment of watching my coworkers *swearing* there’s a satanic message within.

      2. Artemesia*

        This. When people see friends and family getting the jab it encourages them if they are nervous about it to do so also. In public health peer pressure is one of the most potent drivers of good practice.

        1. Filosofickle*

          Yes I’m blatantly in favor of some peer pressure here. Not shaming, but positive social reinforcement.

      3. DashDash*

        I am autistic, and if anyone tells you to avoid the vaccine because it will give you autism, you can assure those people that some of us are very excited to level up! ;)

        (Lest it isn’t clear: I 100% do not believe vaccines cause autism; I also hate being used as a reason to risk other peoples’ lives.)

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Also autistic and loved to joke with my virology professor that I must be Queen of all Autism based on the amount of vaccines I’ve had (work in a viral research lab you get just about every vaccine known to humankind)

    3. Daffy Duck*

      I don’t see folks posting online as trying to make those who can’t get the vaccine feel bad. I see it as them trying to make the world safer for those who can’t get the vaccine. Similar to when folks post about donating blood or the “I voted” sticker.
      FWIW I have been completely vaccinated but didn’t post online. I qualified due to a recently diagnosed medical condition that is still a bit scary to me. I don’t need to take any medical risks right now, and really appreciate the increased sensitivity around staying home if folks are sick.

      1. Former Young Lady*

        As someone who has been politely asked never to donate blood again (something about the repeated public fainting and spontaneous barfing really bumming them out), I think your analogy is spot-on. When I see that other people gave blood, I feel a twinge of guilt that I can’t help with the effort, but it’s eclipsed by my pride in humanity doing the right thing.

    4. MBK*

      I don’t support making any particular group feel bad about their vaccination status. But I do love seeing more people getting it, and normalizing it. Because the fact is that every vaccinated person makes their entire community safer, including those who won’t or can’t get the vaccine themselves. People are going to have feelings about it, but I think the benefit of knowing that my community as a whole is becoming increasingly COVID-resistant far outweighs any individual hurt feelings over who and when and how.

      1. New Job So Much Better*

        When people constantly ask if we’ve been vaccinated, I feel like it’s to reassure themselves that it’s a normal thing to do, we’re all going through it and it’s kind of like a new social merit badge.

        1. Rational Lemming*

          Social Merit Badge is a great way to explain it! That’s definitely how I feel it is being portrayed. And there is a not-so-loose tie to a person’s supposed morality level based on their willingness to get this vaccine. I think is inappropriate and destructive.

          (I will be getting the vaccine when I become eligible, and understand and believe the science behind herd immunity. But the social pressure and moral preaching is really something to witness.)

          1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

            This is what I was trying to get at above. I’m totally on board with vaccination and have already had my first shot thanks to obesity, but the moral judgement is really loud, so to speak. I shouldn’t be surprised but it’s everywhere all the time.

          2. Eukomos*

            Social pressure is dangerous because it’s so powerful, but this is an appropriate use of it. Getting enough people vaccinated is very important and very difficult, and social pressure is a huge help in achieving that goal because it’s so strong.

          3. Librarian1*

            It’s not moral preaching. People want to get back to normal and we can’t frickin do that if people refuse to get the vaccine.

    5. 10Isee*

      This may just be me, but after over a year of crushing loneliness, constant health anxiety, and crippling panic attacks due to masks, I am overjoyed to finally be eligible for a vaccine. I want to share. Other people can get it or decline it as they choose, but I am seeing the light at the end of a very long dark tunnel and I want to share that with my friends and family.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        A ton of people at my work happen to be getting vaccinated this week — it came up because a ton of people are taking half-days to schlep out to wherever is doing vaccinations and we had to work out coverage, but we’re talking about it because we’re all totally psyched.

        No one asks how anyone qualified. It’s all just “Oh congrats!” I suppose it helps that we’re going general availability in a week and change here — the people who aren’t eligible now don’t have too long to wait.

      2. PollyQ*

        And I’ve been happy to see that friends & family have been getting vaccinated too. Granted, I was a little jealous when my turn hadn’t yet come, but still, glad to see that the people I love are now protected.

        1. BubbleTea*

          I’m in the UK where things are operating a little differently, but I have a friend who is from the USA and living over here, and she is really struggling with seeing all the people posting about their vaccines. She has a health condition that would make her eligible in the States but doesn’t here, and she is feeling despair about it. Obviously the problem there is that our system has deliberately excluded a whole group of vulnerable people for political reasons, not that people have had vaccines and been excited about it, but it is an example of how it can be detrimental to have so much trumpeting about access to something others are excluded from.

        2. Snow Globe*

          Especially if I know those people are in a vulnerable group. I have a friend who is a school teacher who is over 60 years old (and teaching in person since September), but due to our state’s ridiculous guidelines had to wait until March for her first vaccine. I think everyone she knows was probably happy to hear of her vaccine status.

    6. Eukomos*

      We need 70+ percent of people to get vaccinated for herd immunity, that’s going to take a major public health campaign and we all have to be part of it. If we don’t all work our hardest to not only get vaccinated but also encourage everyone around us to, then we’ll never get this virus under control.

      1. Xenia*

        I agree but will say that it’s frustrating to be bombarded with ‘get vaccinated’ when you’re not eligible yet. Every time I saw someone talking about it I thought “I will as soon as y’all let me!”.

        1. WS*

          Yeah, I feel that sometimes when I see people doing “Donate blood today, so important!” since I can’t give blood for medical reasons. But I’m still glad that other people are giving blood, because it needs to be done!

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            I hear you so much on this. For the longest time, I was not donating blood on principle, because a lot of my good friends were not eligible for the stupid “being gay men” reasons. But, after the pandemic started, I began donating, because my type is the most in-demand and there was a pandemic and an increased need for donor blood, and it seemed like the right thing for me to do now; even if my friends are still not eligible, and I still hate it that they aren’t.

            1. Sparkly Librarian*

              I started donating after a boycott for similar reasons, a few years back. I figured it was something valuable I could do with little effort, that many people could not do (including MSM who were otherwise eligible). Wouldn’t you know it? I developed a condition where blood/plasma donation is contraindicated! I get constant emails (from the Red Cross and from the local blood donation center I used) requesting my rare type, and haven’t been able to get them to stop even though I’ve called and said, “Take me off your list — I would love to donate but you won’t let me!”

          2. Temperance*

            The blood donation one really angers me because it can force people to be outed. Gay men, bi men, and women who date bi men aren’t allowed to donate because of outdated and homophobic standards.

            I hate people who push others to donate blood for that reason.

            1. Artemesia*

              People are snoopy too. I could not give blood for a long stretch because I had done work in the Middle East and there was a ban on blood from there because of some sort of untested for bug that was carried by sand fleas in the deserts of the area I worked. My work was very urban — I wasn’t out in the sand at the oil fields — but for several years there was a ban on donating if you had worked in that region. but we had very zealous blood drive advocates who would pressure people to explain why they couldn’t give. I finally told one person who didn’t want to disclose a serious health condition to say that they were ‘anemic’ as a way to shut up the pushiest of the advocates. They could have said ‘none of your business’ but that invites gross speculation they wanted to avoid.

              1. Temperance*

                I totally get that. I call those people “blood bullies”. I will never forget the chiropractor in my old office who felt that it was his “duty” to try and get a lot of people to donate because he was afraid of needles and couldn’t do it himself. I eyerolled so much at him.

              2. Blood Babe*

                I work in a blood donation center and often we have groups of donors come in – work colleagues, church/religious groups, local sports teams, etc. Sometimes someone in that group might go through their medical assessment and end up being asked not to donate for a sensitive reason that they don’t wish to disclose to the other people in their group. In that situation we just tell them to say their hemoglobin is low, or that they have a headache, or haven’t had enough water to drink. Something really boring and benign that most people won’t ask any further questions about. Sometimes I’ll even give em a bandaid for their finger even if I didn’t do the hemoglobin test because they were excluded based on the questionnaire alone, just to help support the little white lie.

                Anyone that presses further than “I couldn’t donate!” “How come?” “Low hemoglobin” is an ass and shouldn’t be trusted.

        2. Rec*

          This is where I stand. I’m pro-vaxx but we don’t have wnough vaccinaions where I am. My 72 yo mother just got her first and will be getting the second one in June. I’ll be pleasantly suprised if I get mine this year. I’d be happy witht the “go get vaxx” message if we had surplus of the vaccination and those of us who want it had already gotten it. I undestand that in other places this might be the situation, but not here and it is still happening.

          1. Not anti vaxx*

            I think this is where I fall on the “WOOHOOO” messages. I think it’s a bit too soon, coupled with the msgs about “GREAT NOW YOU CAN TRAVEL” and “YAHOO GO MEET UP WITH YOUR LOVED ONES” msgs that we are all being bombarded with when there are still large populations who aren’t able to get it.

            I think that yes, people are happy that folks are getting it, but let’s not push too hard or resentment will likely start.

            1. Roci*

              I agree. My group in my country is not expected to get the vaccine until the fall. Many other countries won’t see it fully rolled out for another two or three years. It’s tough to read “encouraging” messages or people who frame it as a moral choice–I know they’re talking past me to the anti vaxxers and covid deniers, but it’s not just a moral choice! It’s not available to everyone yet!

        3. UKDancer*

          Definitely. I’ve one friend (who has medical reasons so was done early) who keeps asking me if I’ve been vaccinated yet and I keep thinking. No, because they’ve not started doing the under 50s yet. As soon as I can, I will but I can’t get it before the NHS rolls it out to my age group.

        4. Eukomos*

          Public health messaging is going out to everyone, you ignore health messages that aren’t aimed at you all the time. Like, when you see ads encouraging people not to smoke you don’t go “why is this popping up on my screen, I’ve never smoked in my life!” right? You think “gee I hope this works on the kids its targeted at.”

      2. Asenath*

        Well, yes, but in my area I’m not yet eligible. So encouraging me isn’t going to do a thing – it might make me anxious, perhaps. Best guess for my vaccine is by the end of June; I don’t talk much about it (except to anxious relatives) and I am not much worried that there are people ahead of me on the list because they are generally more at risk than I am. And locally there don’t appear to be vaccines going to waste or lying around as extras. Local authorities announced that they had some that would expire by the end of the week – the announcement was mid-morning; every shot was booked by mid-afternoon the same day.

    7. Privacy please*

      I agree with this. I’m so tired of the “Did you get your vaccine?” “I’m getting mine!” “I got mine!” “This group is eligible.” Enough already. We understand, it’s on the news 24/7. I think all the questions and announcements normalizes an erosion of privacy. I don’t want to hear about your medical procedures and I don’t want to discuss mine.

      1. AJ*

        I work in local government and have been temporarily been working with their vaccine hotline as part of my job. You would be amazed how many people DON’T understand – the eligibility requirements, the safety of vaccines, the process for getting them. There is so much confusion and misunderstanding. *You* certainly don’t have to share, but when others do with their friends and family, it helps normalize the vaccines and bring more people into the know.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Agreed. I also think that after the year we have all had, these announcements are a collective sigh of relief.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        I’m glad you understand, but not everyone does. It’s like “Call Before You Dig*” — a lot of people know it’s not just for building an addition on your house but also something you should do before planting a new garden. If you don’t call and damage an underground utility, what’s likely to happen is you’ll cut your own internet and have to pay for the repair. You may also get seriously injured or die, if you cut your electric or gas. That’s why most localities have regular campaigns for it, it’s a regular ad on local tv, etc.

        So, how much MORE should we be ensuring that people know that they can be vaccinated against a highly contagious, deadly disease?

        *for non-US folks, “Call Before You Dig” is a utility damage prevention program and each state has their own program in which all utilities are required to participate. You call/go to their website a few days before you plan to dig on your property, submit some information (your address, where you’re planning to dig, what you’re doing – garden, irrigation system, addition, etc), and then each utility sends someone out to mark where their facilities run under your property so you can avoid damaging them.

      3. Not A Girl Boss*

        I agree also. There’s just a huge difference between sharing on social media, and sharing at work.
        I just don’t know why every single work meeting has to start with people grilling each other for medical information. It feels so inappropriate, like debating religion or politics, or, you know, asking people you work with to share medical information?
        But sharing on social media, about the choice you personally have made for yourself to help normalize it? Fine. Good even. Its just a totally different thing with a totally different audience, and is way less privacy-violating because those who want to keep it private can just keep scrolling.
        I even see people on Facebook ‘volunteering’ to help people navigate vaccine signups. Thats a totally different thing also, and I am happy for them.
        But please friends, stop asking other people to share their vaccine status at work.

      4. Temperance*

        I can promise you, the general public does not “understand”. My own MIL passed up an appointment for her 90-year-old mother with dementia, because she doesn’t trust it; apparently, her mother is “too old and too sick” for the vaccine.

        And frankly, you can keep your vaccine status to yourself, but anyone who cares about public health and has half a working brain will be just assuming that you’re anti-vax or not vaccinated, and will make decisions accordingly.

      5. yala*

        We must live in very different places.

        But another thing is…this particular “medical procedure” is a matter of public health. So, y’know. Maybe it is nice to share.

        Don’t really get why you’d be upset at OTHER people CHOOSING to share that they got their vaccines. Or…that certain groups are eligible? Why on EARTH would people sharing that annoy you. It’s good information to share! I learned that I was eligible because a friend on facebook shared the new tiers rolling out.

      6. Starbuck*

        “Enough already. We understand, it’s on the news 24/7.”

        If only that was true and people really did understand about this! But if you watch the news it’s clear many people are uninformed, misinformed, or intentionally lying about basic public health info surrounding the virus and vaccine, and other basic public health and safety guidelines.

        1. Aitch Arr*

          To boot, a headline in today’s NY Times web edition is: “White Evangelical Resistance Is Obstacle in Vaccination Effort”

    8. Cambridge Comma*

      It’s really important that the people getting the vaccine are louder than the anti-vax crowd spreading misinformation. And unfortunately they are pretty loud at the moment.

      1. Green great dragon*

        Yes. If a handful of anti-vaxxers are making most of the noise, it looks like many people are against it, which makes it look like there’s widespread concern, which makes it feel like there’s something to worry about. If most people are getting the vaccine, *and you know that most people are getting the vaccine*, it correctly makes it look as if most people are happy to get the vaccine.

        It also normalises getting the vaccine as a thing most people do. And this is stupidly powerful in driving people’s decisions.

        I’m due for the shot in a few weeks, on current progress. And I am delighted to see people around me getting vaccinated – I’m not worried for myself, really, I’m low risk. I was deeply worried for my parents and vulnerable friends – whether I knew they were vulnerable or not.

        1. Clisby*

          I wouldn’t really call it “stupidly powerful.” As unvaccinated people see more and more people get vaccinated and suffer no serious side effects, some portion of them are going to feel reassured and get the vaccine. It’s like every one of us who gets vaccinated (I get shot #2 on Friday) is participating in a giant vaccine trial. Millions of people getting it with no problem is going to be more reassuring than tens of thousands of people getting it with no problem. There are die-hard anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, and then are people who are (to me) just over-cautious. South Carolina is something like 44th in vaccinations per capita, and a whole lot of people who want vaccines haven’t been able to get them. Until it’s pretty clear that everyone who wants it has gotten it, I’m not spending a lot of energy worrying about the people who don’t want it.

          1. Temperance*

            I don’t think that this is true. I think that they’ll just keep going to TikTok and YouTube and finding more and more outlandish claims to support what they think.

            1. Former Young Lady*

              I think you’re both right. There are ostriches out there whose only decision will be whether to bury their heads in the sand or in their own butts. There are also people who can be persuaded if they see the “right” people leading by example.

              I’m happy to report that I know a few of the latter type. I’m avoiding the former, and plan to continue so doing, long after I get fully vaxxed.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        That’s where I stand. I’m nearly burnt out from months and months of hearing misinformation about vaccines. If one obnoxiously loud ex-virologist touting the brilliance of a vaccine helps reduce that clamorous racket then pass me the loudhailer.

        1. londonedit*

          I absolutely agree. It’s really frustrating that a lot of what I’m seeing on social media is people saying ‘OMG my mum had the vaccine and she was in bed for a week/OMG I had my first jab on Tuesday and the side-effects have been ROUGH, cannot move my arm’ and then you get a pile-on with 30 people banging on about how their aunt’s cousin’s husband was floored for two weeks etc etc etc. I feel like it just stirs up worry and puts people off, and it’s simply because people are more likely to moan about side-effects than they are to say ‘Oh yeah, had the jab, no worries, haven’t had any side-effects at all’ (which was the case for all three members of my family who have so far had the vaccine and the vast majority of other people I know). I really think there needs to be more said by people who are just going along, having their jabs, and being totally fine.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            You’ve now made me reconsider posting my status when I do get the vaccine (NHS took a long time to decide if my autoimmune disease could take it) because I know I’m gonna feel like absolute hell to the point of needing at least a week off work.

            Good point. Maybe just a ‘vaccine yey!!!’ post instead :)

            1. Bagpuss*

              I’ve seem some which have been along the lines of “I got my jab, feel a bit crap but so worth it to protect myself and others – won’t be hesitating to get my second dose” which I think are pretty positive as it does recognise that yes, some people get side effects and for some they are worse then they’re used to with the flu jab etc, but it is still very much the lesser of two evils!

              I admit that as someone who is at higher risk but doesn’t fit into the government’s category of being at higher risk I am finding the waiting very stressful, but seeing so many saying that they have had it is still good – it reassures me that the risks to me (as well a to people in general) are falling, as the more people are vaccinated the better as the risks of spread are lower, but also it does show that they are getting through the number pretty fast, so hopefully they will get to me soon.

              And knowing that my older relatives and friends are getting theirs is a huge relief.

              I’d also agree that the anti-vax misinformation is very widespread and loud, so I feel that it is important to be loud and open about getting the jab.

              I only know one person who is actively posting anti-vax propaganda but I know a (to me) surprising number of people who are hesitant and who didn’t get it as soon as they could, and certainly some of those went ahead after hearing and seeing their friends and colleagues talk/post about getting it.

              I also have two people (that I know of) who can’t get it due to other medical conditions and they (or their parent) have said that they find it really helpful to see so many people being open about getting it as it gives them hope that we will get to the point where herd immunity will keep them safe, too.

              1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                I have noticed a…lot isn’t the right word, but significant concern among my fellow BIPOC people about the vaccine due to various bad experiences in history regarding medical treatments given to oppressed people that were anything BUT beneficial. I don’t mind helping them out with indepth information and reassurance because in this case we really DON’T have to worry that it’s a grand experiment to sterilise us etc.

              2. MCMonkeybean*

                That’s the vibe a lot of my friends are posting. I have one friend whose whole household caught covid a couple of months ago and he said that when he got his second dose of the vaccine his side effects were really bad and that his doctor had warned him that might happen because he had the disease (which was interesting, I would have guessed the opposite! that having already had exposure would make the side effect less!)

                But he also said that even though his side effects were really bad, that he would happily feel that way for a day every month for the rest of his life to never again feel the way he did while he had covid.

                (I do suspect booster shots may be in our future, but probably not as often as once a month lol)

                1. EchoGirl*

                  I think they’re now advising people who’ve already had it to only get one shot. I assumed it was for efficiency reasons (if one is sufficient for someone who already has antibodies, not giving them a second frees up more doses for other people), but this could be part of it too.

          2. UKDancer*

            Definitely. Most of the people I know have been fine with no or very mild side effects. My mother had some side effects but not as bad as she gets with the flu jab.

            Most of the facebook posts as definitely along the lines of “had the jab, yay.” Mine will be like that as soon as the roll it out to my age bracket.

            1. Elenna*

              Yeah, the posts I’ve seen are just “got the vaccine, yay!” Haven’t got it myself yet (and I probably won’t for a couple months at least), but my grandmother had no issues with her first shot, and the couple YouTubers I watch who got it were just tired and achey for a day – still way better than getting covid.

            2. Keymaster of Gozer*

              I’m actively hoping it doesn’t do what the tetanus shot did to me and put me on my back for a week (my cat bit me, so had to go get the shot) but that’s because my immune system is very powerful but has ROTTEN aim. Likes to nom on my joints.

          3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I’ve mostly seen “oof, that was a tough 12-24 hours but a gazillion times better than getting covid!”

            I’ve also seen “felt like death for a day – go immune response!”

            It’s probably a matter of Knowing Your Audience. My echo chamber is delighted about the vaccine and celebrating every jabbed arm.

    9. Language Lover*

      Is there some peer pressure? Maybe. But peer pressure isn’t always bad. Going into public places where I live is very different compared to where my parents live. I live in an area where people are prone to follow the mask mandate and even those who disagree are largely pressured into wearing one because it’s easier than getting a dirty look. It’s more lax where my parents live and I avoided going inside if I could avoid it. I thank the mask-wearing peer pressure where I live.

      Will seeing everyone getting a vaccine pressure people into getting one? Maybe. But given the fact that there are a lot of people out there with vaccine hesitancy based on nothing more than a gut feeling or misinformation unrelated to science, I won’t lose sleep if the “peer pressure” of all their acquaintances getting vaccinated pushes them into being less hesitant.

      Let’s face it, most of the people avoiding the vaccine aren’t keeping up-to-date on research articles and weighing the evidence in their decision making. People who make decisions based on their own scientific research are unlikely to be persuaded by Facebook posts.

      I think showing vaccinations can be positive in that it puts a real face to people getting the vaccine. And it can put a real face to people not having horrific side effects from the vaccine which I think I think gets more play than they deserve. It’s not that people don’t get side effects; it’s that many many don’t.

    10. allathian*

      It’s a valid viewpoint, but I admit I’m happy to see so many people posting about getting their own vaccine. I’m not so keen on those who attack people who for one reason or another can’t get one yet. I have absolutely zero sympathy for those who refuse to get it on principle even if they’re eligible, they deserve to feel bad about their choice, even if I doubt they do. I don’t support attacking those who can’t get it on medical grounds, of course. To protect them, it’s important that everyone who can get it on medical grounds does so.

      1. mreasy*

        I am extremely in favor of using peer pressure to get people to get vaccinated once they are eligible, period. Some folks are sharing their vax stories in one of our Slack channels at work, and there were people complaining to HR that they felt alienated because they weren’t planning to get vaccinated (not for health reasons). I think they should feel bad! I’m okay with them feeling alienated! If this changes even one person at my 400-person company’s mind, it’s worth it in my opinion.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          Some folks are sharing their vax stories in one of our Slack channels at work, and there were people complaining to HR that they felt alienated because they weren’t planning to get vaccinated (not for health reasons).


          1. Momma Bear*

            Wow indeed. You make choices. You are not immune (ha) from the consequences of those choices.

          1. Anna*

            From one librarian to another, please use those good research skills and learn more about this – or at least talk to a knowledgeable health care provider. You are spreading misinformation. You cannot catch (or spread) COVID from the vaccine. They do not contain the live virus and cannot make you sick with it. There is plenty of good scientific data out there on this. Also, this is not new technology. The vaccines were able to be created quickly because they were based on existing research and development. Your child is at much higher risk of catching COVID from you if you are unvaccinated.

    11. Double A*

      I’m pregnant and a lot of pregnant people are super hesitant to get it, so I shared because I want people to know that I did and why.

      When I posted I wrote, “I can’t wait until all my friends and loved ones can join me.” I think everyone is aware that not everyone can get a vaccine so the posts are not about shaming anyone. No, we’ll move into that phase in a few months when everyone who wants a vaccine can get one and we’re needing to reach the vaccine hesitant group. Frankly right now the enthusiasm for the vaccine is hopefully laying the groundwork for many of those who are on the fence to be convinced to do it before the shaming starts and hardens them against it.

      I’m going to be totally open about my status.

      1. Katefish*

        Thanks for vaccinating to help add to the pregnancy data points! And a big ugh no thanks to the local VA that refused to vaccinate me at 13 weeks pregnant, even though both of my relevant doctors (OB and medical condition doctor) told me to get the vaccine. Currently waiting for my public appointment 5/1 and hoping they have more of a sense of bodily autonomy.

    12. Dark Macadamia*

      Maybe it’s just my particular bubble, but all the vaccine “announcements” I’ve seen have been about sharing their joy/relief, in the same way you’d post any positive life event on social media. Maybe a few “I trust science” or “doing my part” type comments, mainly from medical or activist folks, but it’s much more about celebrating together than shaming others.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        A lot of the vaccine announcements from my family have been of the ‘finally we can see an end to this hellish pandemic!’ joy.

        1. Privacy Please*

          This is a dangerous mindset imo. The vaccine is not going to entirely eliminate nor end the risk — at least not anytime in the foreseeable future.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            It’s what has kept my sanity during the last few months. Believe me I know exactly how unlikely it is we’ll remove this virus from the world entirely – but it is likely it’ll become something more akin to influenza type A where we get a shot every year and the death numbers go WAY down.

          2. MCMonkeybean*

            It is not going to fix everything quickly but it does mean that a lot of people who haven’t seen their family in a year can finally do so which is definitely something worth celebrating

    13. tamarack and fireweed*

      I’ve been thinking it through recently along the lines you talk about, and you clearly have a point. But I came down on the other side, and here’s why.

      I’m in a US state where right now everyone > 16 years is eligible. There are hundreds of appointments available in my town tomorrow. And I have friends in other US states that are ~1 month behind. As healthy, athletic people in their 40s with jobs that can be done remotely they will only qualify in a few weeks. My friends and family in Europe and Canada are even further behind, though. I make sure to check in with them and for a few I *am* worried. But the ones who are most annoyed with not being vaccinated yet are the ones in low-incident US states not very far behind our schedule… and yes, they do occasionally have dark fixations on who can/should get the vaccine when. And I may in a very small way play into it…

      BUT. All these friends are extremely well placed in the big picture, and they WILL very soon be vaccinated. The people in my community though … there’s a fair amount of hesitancy, so normalizing vaccinations may be helpful. And then there are those who have a hard time navigating the scheduling system. Every little push towards vaccinations might get someone to ask for help. My friends who are annoyed will get there. IF they’re too annoyed they can snooze me on social media. That’s fine! But I’ll still be an annoying polyanna about vaccinations just to do my bit to set an example.

      1. MCMonkeybean*

        Yeah, I’m not going to passive aggressively imply it ’cause I will openly say it.

        Well, except to my boss because she’s my boss. But I’m really glad she can’t see my face every time she starts talking on video calls about how she is so wary of potential side effects and I just want to respond that she should be a lot more wary of potentially catching the virus (and then spreading it to others).

    14. 653-CXK*

      It’s a perfectly valid feeling.

      There are some people who do it for the website clicks, the thumbs ups, the retweets, and the likes, and that’s merely ego and (dare I say) virtue signaling. I can do without the emoji/hashtag/meme/exclamation point effluvia that goes with it.

      I’m getting my first shot tomorrow; I’ve been out of social media for two years, hence no “I GOT VAXXED !!!1!!!” or “Holy mackerel, this vaccine is knocking me for a loop” status updates.

      1. Starbuck*

        “There are some people who do it for the website clicks, the thumbs ups, the retweets, and the likes, and that’s merely ego and (dare I say) virtue signaling.”

        And so what? If someone wants a pat on the back for getting the vaccine, I’m happy to give it and help normalize it as the thing to do. Seems pretty harmless, ‘likes’ are free after all.

      2. Marillenbaum*

        I can’t get upset that someone is doing the right thing that helps themselves and the community for a potentially silly reason. There isn’t any value to judging the quality of their reason for doing the right thing; it matters that they did it.

    15. Blueberry*

      I convinced two people to get vaccinated who were on the fence by sharing it. One was a client who straight up asked me if I thought it was a good idea (I’m a veterinarian) and another was my fiance who was nervous about a random person giving him a shot and having to wait an hour to do it or fight for an appointment. They both made appointments after I shared my positive experience. It can make a huge difference and the CDC is encouraging people to share their positive experiences to get more people vaccinated. Hell I told my somewhat anti-vax bosses because it’s nothing to be ashamed of and they might consider it.

      1. Smithy*

        I think this is an important context – sharing this experience isn’t about someone leading an anti-vax campaign, but rather someone who’s on the fence or turned off by the bureaucracy navigation required.

        The other posts that I saw early on that I actually found helpful were the ones that described what bad side effects might look like. Not because I want to have a bad reaction, but in that sense of knowing what “bad but normal” looks like. I did have a friend who lives alone and got night sweats and all that after his second shot. And it came from a place of helping others think through what might be helpful for them should that be their situation.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Big applause from me! Every person convinced to get the vaccine is one step closer to an end to this nightmare.

    16. Greg*

      I shared mine because it was such a relief and a weight off my shoulders when I got poked. My in-laws both have cancer and we had our daughter March 2020 so the last year has been f*cking terrifying at almost every turn, compounded by the fact that my company is a vendor for grocery stores. The joy I felt when I knew I was able to protect my family and friends was palpable. It wasn’t meant to shame anyone; rather, it was a primal scream. Plus, two people I haven’t had face-to-face contact with in over a year who are fully vaccinated reached out because they saw that post and we were able to make plans which I am excited about.

      With that said if it did shame someone, I am perfectly fine with that. I think anyone who isn’t planning on getting vaccinated is reckless and selfish. To my friends who are complaining about this talk to having restricted access to things because they aren’t planning on getting vaccinated, I am expressing no sympathy and directly explaining to them why I have that lack of sympathy.

    17. Dust Bunny*

      I only just became eligible but I had a non-COVID cold so I haven’t found an appointment yet, but I’m THRILLED to see people posting it and making it seem like no big deal.

      Re: Qualifying through BMI. I have several friends who did, but I only know that for sure because they told me. For all I know, they might also have asthma or an autoimmune disease or some other qualifier unrelated to their weight. I don’t care and I’m sure as H*ll not gonna ask–I just want people to get the shots and be protected/protect those who cannot.

    18. Foreign Octopus*

      To be honest, having lost a swathe of family members to Covid since it started, I actually couldn’t care if me posting that I got the vaccine (haven’t yet) made people who don’t want it or on the fence about it feel bad. This isn’t like normal events.mwe need people to get the vaccine and since the oxygen in the room is taken up by anti-vaxxers then every person who posts that they got the vaccine, the quieter they become.

      At this point my sympathy and understanding for those who don’t want to get the vaccine for any other reason than medically ineligible deserves to feel bad.

      My family has been culled because people didn’t want to wear masks. Just have the damn vaccine so we can all move on with our lives.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Sincere sympathies mate. Also lost loved ones to this virus. Internet hugs if you want them :(

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          Thank you. My condolences to you too. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and I hate that so many people like us have to live with the last year and a half for the rest of our lives. Internet hugs right back at you.

          1. Momma Bear*

            I’m sorry for your collective losses. :( People need to remember that the toll has been astronomical.

    19. Vaccination Train*

      Sorry y’all. I still disagree with most of you. But I do find it interesting that dozens of people were very happy to tell me why I’m wrong. It was a solid information campaign, even if it resulted in the same type of response that I’m pretty much railing against on social media. I think, if anything, this thread has just taught me I need to get off social media.

      1. Anononon*

        “I intentionally posted a polarizing comment here, and I now find it just fascinating that it garnered a number of responses.”


      2. Bagpuss*

        I think that part of the issue is that you’re saying you feel that it is bullying, but an awful lot of people are sharing for reasons which have nothing to do with wanting to bully or pressure anyone else.

        Out of interest, do you have similar objections to people posting about other positive experiences in their lives? Do you, for instance, feel that people posting about their pregnancies or engagements are indulging in passive-aggressive bullying of childless people or those who are single? It feels like an oddly personal way to take something that’s not about you.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Exactly. Like the Bad Advisor used to say on her blog, people are not (getting vaccinated, having kids, marrying, divorcing, and generally living their lives) “*at* you”.

          @Vaccination Train – I think people have shared a lot of valid and logical reasons on here for why they are sharing, or encouraging their friends to share, their vaccinations, that have nothing to do with you or with bullying.

        2. Former Young Lady*

          This, this, this, this, this!

          Nobody is getting vaccinated (or pregnant, or engaged, or promoted) AT you, VT. Please do get off social media if it’s giving you a persecution complex. For your own sake.

      3. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        I’ve been doing some outreach to get people vaccine appointments, or information about eligibility–and part of what we’re doing is answering people who are nervous about the vaccines. Not guilt tripping, but things like “yes it’s been adequately tested,” “if you’re worried about allergies talk to your regular medical provider and/or the people at the vaccination site,” and how long to wait after recovering from or being treated for Covid.

        Everything beyond the initial “if you live in X location you’re eligible now” or “please sign up to be notified when the vaccine is available to you” is in response to questions. I don’t think one text saying “please sign up to be notified” is bullying, in a context where there are at least sixty different sets of rules (state/territory/DC/tribal governments, plus specific cities and counties) and they change frequently.

      4. Foreign Octopus*

        This sort of attitude is the reason I have four empty seats at my family’s table now.

        Shame on you.

      5. D3*

        Maybe your reaction is just…..yours? And doesn’t have to be how EVERYONE responds? Just own it. And if you support vaccination like you claim, then support people talking about it.
        People are not saying you’re wrong, they’re saying you’re grumpy and that’s no one’s problem but yours.

      6. nona*

        VT – I’m with you, just so you know you aren’t alone.

        I want everyone to get vaccinated, but I’m just sick of hearing about it. I’m sick of hearing about all the work people go into getting an appointment because it starts to feel like that is how much work it *should* take and if you aren’t then you are slacking, when some of us are just trying to patiently wait our turn in line.

        And the endless debate about efficacy and variants and and and and. I know it’s a me-thing and that the vaccine situation is one of the few common topics available for small talk right now. My circle of friends and acquaintances don’t need any convincing to get the vaccine, so I don’t feel the need to be a PSA.

        1. Old and Don’t Care*

          I agree with you. The best thing about having gotten the vaccine is not needing to think about it anymore, and hopefully so not talk about it anymore. “What do you mean you couldn’t get it at “X” location? I didn’t have a problem a couple weeks ago. You must not have tried hard enough.”

          To my knowledge only one person in my circle doesn’t plan on getting it. The fact that others of us have is not changing their opinion.

        2. Kitry*

          I agree as well. I am deeply grateful to have been able to get my first dose of the vaccine. I have friends, relatives, and coworkers (in a medical field, no less!) who have still not been able to schedule their first appointment. Public celebrations at this point just feels mean-spirited when so many are still unprotected. I have already convinced one vaccine-hesitant relative to register for the vaccine; but I didn’t do it with a spcial media post. It was a private conversation where I listened compassionately and spoke thoughtfully.

          1. Eukomos*

            If you applied that rule to other good things then we’d never be able to celebrate anything publicly. Every good thing that happens to you, someone else wants it and doesn’t have it. It’s no more sensible to ask everyone who gets vaccinated to keep it to themselves than it is to ask everyone who gets a new job to keep it to themselves. At some point we all have to learn how to be happy for other people even when we’re jealous of them.

      7. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I’d suggest setting up filters, muting certain people, unfriending etc. if you are enduring this much stress from people on social media posting about being vaccinated. This isn’t snark – I’m serious. Maintaining one’s mental health during all this is important.

    20. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I was on the fence about vaccination announcements at the time when, in my state, you had to be in your 80s, deathly ill, or a frontline healthcare worker, to qualify; and then, when you did qualify, it was impossible to find an appointment anywhere. But, as of a week ago, everyone age 18 and older is eligible in my state, and the availability is increasing by the day. At this point, any adult that wants a shot can get it. So at this time, I find the “I got my vaccine today” social media posts a positive thing in the sense that 1) the more people around me have it, the faster the herd immunity will rise and the sooner we will return to normal, and 2) I know people that are afraid to get the vaccine for reasons I cannot agree with, and maybe seeing that everyone around them is getting it and doing well after, will help change their mind.

    21. TootsNYC*

      On the other hand, at some point, this feels like passive aggressive bullying.
      I’m not sure bullying can be passive aggressive.

      Do you mean peer pressure? It isn’t always bad; sometimes it’s “enforcing community standards.”

    22. Yorick*

      People are posting their vaccine selfies because they’re excited. If you’re interpreting that as bullying you/others to get it too, you should think about why that is.

    23. I Need Coffee*

      Totally agree. Yes, I support vaccination efforts. No, it doesn’t need to be a topic of discussion 24-7. We’ve heard it. We’ve ALL heard it. Multiple times daily.

    24. SoloKid*

      You say “passive aggressive bullying”, I say “community reinforcement”. There are SO MANY decisions people make by word of mouth and social pressure. Almost everything becomes normalized through “like-minded behavior” and I am very pro “like minded behavior” when it comes to herd immunity for a contagious disease.

      1. TootsNYC*

        especially when it comes as “I did this!” and “You should to!” and not “you are awful if you don’t do this”

        I have seen exactly NO one say “you are awful if you don’t”

    25. Tired of Covid-and People*

      Black person here. Black people are publicizing their vaccinations to help diminish vaccine hesitancy, especially since Covid-19 deaths affected the black community disproportionately. It’s important.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I talked to an old friend the other day, who now works for a large hospital system in our area and helps oversee the vaccination process in his employer’s hospitals, and he said the same thing; that there is a lot of hesitancy and distrust in the vaccine in the Black community, because of how it had been treated by the system in the past. (I confess I was not aware of it being as serious of a problem as it in fact is.) I can only imagine how helpful it must be for community members to publicize their vaccinations to the community.

      2. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        +1. This isn’t just about Black communities. Any group that faces health care access issues (especially those related to discrimination) is going to benefit from having its members out and proud and vaccinated, showing that there’s some hope of breaking the vicious cycle.

    26. yala*

      If someone CAN’T get the vax, that’s understandable.

      If someone WON’T get the vax…yeah, sorry, I’ve got no problem making them feel bad about it. Especially via a method as passive as being enthusiastic that I and my loved ones can or have gotten it.

    27. Librarian1*

      This makes no sense. It’s not bullying. People are excited and relieved to finally be getting vaccinated and it’s natural to want to share that excitement with others. I was so, so excited to get the link to make an appointment because I wasn’t sure I was eligible yet, so I told my friends and family. Yeah, several of them said they were jealous of me, but they were also happy for me and I 100% understand that feeling because it’s exactly how I was feeling before I got my shot.

  10. LizzE*

    #2 – I suppose this depends on where you live, but I am one dose into my vaccine (qualify due to weight) — was surprised to find that a lot of coworkers are already vaccinated or will get their second doses ahead of me. People are pretty open about getting them at my work, just not what eligibility requirements they meet — no one is asking either. I think as a little as a month ago, people were keeping how they were getting vaccines on the down low. But now that we are close to broad eligibility and some places are already taking anyone (a couple counties in my state are), I don’t think the stigma is as prevalent for people who are perceived as “too young” or “appear to be in good health.” You may be surprised to find some of your own coworkers are vaccinated or at least one dose in.

    1. kittymommy*

      Agree. I had my second dose back in early February, at the time I did not qualify (however I do now) and was able to get it on a fluke. Of the coworkers I have they no I’m vaccinated, which is most, none of them have asked. In fact of everyone in my life who knows, only one asked and it was a very close friend and their was no weirdness to it.

      I think a lot less people will ask the reason than the LW might think.

  11. 4 eyed librarian*

    #2, I’m just glad people are getting vaccinated, so it doesn’t really matter to me what qualified for them. That being said, you’re not obligated to tell someone your medical history or why you qualified for the vaccine. Just please continue to wear your mask if you can

  12. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    Vaccine eligibility is a rapidly diminishing concern if you are in the US. I just checked and 33 states already offer vaccines to all adults, with another 5 to follow this week. So if you are really nervous about this, wait a bit and you’ll blend in with the medically boring.

    Also, nearly a third of American have had at least one jab, so fairly good odds some of your coworkers have been already vaccinated.

  13. Iron Chef Boyardee*

    #5 wrote: “Company A is . . . . . already making long-term plans that involve me!”

    That’s not your problem.

    If it was the other way around – if Company A, or any employer for that matter, wants to let someone go, they’ll do so regardless of any long-term plans the employee may have made that involve their continued, uninterrupted employment at Company A.

    So don’t worry about them. It works both ways.

    1. identifying remarks removed*

      Yes – I’d view it that they’re making long term plans for that role but not specifically for LW personally. Especially as they aren’t simply making her a full time employee. They are posting the job and requiring her to apply for her current job as if she’s a potential new hire. That doesn’t show any loyalty to the LW from the company.

      1. Weekend Please*

        This exactly. If they were actually making long term plans for the LW she would have a job offer, not a job application. They have plans for the role and feel like she would be a good fit based on their experience with her. But if someone absolutely amazing applies I have no doubt that they would offer the job to that person. Turning down a job offer for an offer to apply does not seem like it would be in the OP’s best interest.

    2. BRR*

      I’m curious to know what company a’s plans are if they find another candidate is stronger?

    3. TootsNYC*

      and their long-term plans involved the POSITION, not you personally, because they are posting the job and will be interviewing OTHER people too.

  14. Marzipan*

    I’m assuming the setup in #1 is one where there’s no HR or grandboss to involve? If there is, though, definitely involve them!

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      That’s what I was thinking too. Unless this is a small company there must be someone who the LW can talk to that is above her boss. Indefinite suspension??? I would be filing for unemployment

  15. learnedthehardway*

    OP#1 – If you have HR, this is the time to involve them. If you don’t, this is one of the few times I would suggest going over your manager’s head (if there is someone more senior) to get your grandboss involved. As far as I can see, you have nothing to lose, because this demand of your manager is just so off the wall that only someone more senior to him is going to get through to him.

    That said, your DH was also completely out of line to complain to your manager – you need to set him straight, too, that he doesn’t interfere with your work life ever again. While your manager is completely out of line to suspend you or demand that your DH report for a scolding, at least you are seeing the real impact of having a spouse interfere in your job / career. Many managers would NOT react so inappropriately, but they WOULD remember that your spouse interfered, and would let it colour their impressions of your independence, judgment and suitability for more senior assignments.

    1. Bear*

      I don’t disagree with anything you said, but I feel compelled to note that this situation is pretty dissimilar to the other “spouse called my boss” stories we’ve seen over the years. To me, forbidding someone from leaving to take their vomiting kid to the hospital (!) is so far beyond the pale that I’m inclined to cut her husband a certain amount of slack if he saw red and crossed a line he otherwise wouldn’t have crossed.

      I don’t know whether that’s exactly what happened here, of course. But if it is, while I wouldn’t advise somebody to act that way, I wouldn’t judge them very harshly for it either — whereas normally I think that calling your SO’s boss is both disrespectful and worryingly controlling.

      1. TheVenemousSquid*

        I’m in total agreement here. If the boss’ actions in some way endangered the life of my child, I’d be pretty hard-pressed not to loose it with him. (Not that that’s necessarily the best course of action! But, y’know, the guy stopped a mother from taking a sick child to the hospital. I think a little slack is fair enough here.)

      2. Forrest*

        I think whether or not the husband’s anger was “reasonable” depends on whether it was, “But my child needs medical attention and won’t get it unless my wife can take time off!” or “But if my wife can’t take time off, *I’m* going to have to!” If it’s the latter, then it’s just as entitled as any other, “I will interfere in my wife’s relationship with her boss” call.

        1. Bear*

          I agree the context matters a lot, but I think “just as entitled” is a bit too far.

          LW ‘s boss basically told her, “taking your sick kid to the hospital is not important enough for me to allow you to take leave.” That’s appalling! If somebody said that to my wife, about MY KID, I’d be beyond livid. I would absolutely want to chew that person out. It’s not that I’d be upset at the inconvenience of having to take them to the hospital on my own — I’d be angry because someone displayed a shockingly callous attitude towards my child’s health. (Obviously it wouldn’t be “shockingly callous” if my kid had a case of sniffles — but to me, vomiting in the hospital is serious enough for a parent to want to be there even if it isn’t strictly necessary.)

          To be clear, I am still not saying it’s a good idea to call your SO’s boss like that. And obviously I have no idea what was going on inside LW’s husband’s head — maybe he really was just huffy at being inconvenienced. But I do think that in a situation like that, a lot of otherwise reasonable people might do or say something rash.

          1. Metadata minion*

            It also might have been a case of “this seems like it might be really serious and so both of us want to be there even if technically only one parent is needed to get the kid to the hospital”.

            1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

              Been there, done that, can verify that there was more than one post-morning-doctor-parade discussion while my child was in an ICU where I called my husband trying not to sob with a “nope, I thought I could handle this and I.just.can’ CAN’T.”

              Its often not brought up – but sometimes the advocating parent needs support too.

            2. Forrest*

              Oh yeah, I’m not saying there aren’t *lots* of situations where the anger would have been legitimate and reasonable. But there are also plenty of situations where men in male/female relationships assume that *obviously* it’s Mum’s responsibility to take time off work if there is a need for childcare, and I have a lot less sympathy for the idea that that’s reasonable or fair.

              1. Forrest*

                (though actually it doesn’t say anything about the husband being angry, just that he “called to inquire about the reasons”.)

          2. EvilQueenRegina*

            Yeah, I think I’d want to know a bit more context to the situation before I come down too hard on the husband here.

        2. Grump*

          Yeah, what I don’t understand is why the husband didn’t just take the sick child to the hospital. He was available to call his wife’s boss, but couldn’t get the child to the hospital himself? Unless he has a mobility/transportation issue, it makes no sense to me that the only solution was for his wife to take their child. If he was working and not allowed to leave his own job, why not chew out *his* boss?

          1. TootsNYC*

            if a kid is sick enough to need to go to the hospital, that’s serious.

            And, in so many families, the mom is the one with the medical information, the caregiver training and experience. She’s the family expert–of course you’d want her there.

          2. James*

            “Yeah, what I don’t understand is why the husband didn’t just take the sick child to the hospital.”

            This happened to me at least twice. Once I was traveling for work, in another state. My job isn’t driven by the clock, and part of my job is to take phone calls related to the work, so I can usually pick up the phone. However, driving 6 hours to pick up a sick kid doesn’t exactly work. Another time I was home, but didn’t have a car (or, more precisely, didn’t have functional breaks), and my wife had the car seat in her van (because she drops the kids off en route to where she works). To be fair, I’ve had the reverse happen–I had the van with the car seats, so had to drop what I was doing to pick up the kid.

            Without knowing more I’m hesitant to judge the husband too harshly for not picking up the kid. Maybe he’s a jerk, but maybe there was a legitimate reason.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Or even, dad has some sort of medical condition that prohibits him from having a license?

          3. Super Duper*

            I assumed that the husband *did* take the child to the hospital, but the LW wanted to go too and was denied permission, or the husband took the child after the LW was denied permission. If my kid was ill enough to be going to the emergency room, my spouse and I would both want to be there. And there’s no way I could focus at work in that situation, anyway. (Regardless, I don’t think it was appropriate for the husband to call the boss, although I can definitely understand the anger.)

        3. Jennifer*

          Yeah, I don’t know all the details, maybe the husband was out of state when this happened or something, but if they both were at work locally, I don’t get why he just didn’t leave himself when he found out his wife couldn’t? Even if he wasn’t local at the time, maybe a better use of time would have been calling someone else who could pick up his son. This just seems like a huge waste of time. I hope the OP will provide more detail.

          1. VintageLydia*

            They may also have multiple kids so someone needed to stay home with other kids. There is a pandemic. Emergency babysitters are hard to come by in normal times and bringing a gaggle of children into an emergency room is again, not great to do in normal times. But during a pandemic? It’s not a black and white choice.

        4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Maybe he works out of state and only comes home on weekends. Maybe he is a brain surgeon and was in the middle of a brain surgery. We don’t know what we don’t know. OP did not say anything about the husband being able to take off work being an option.

          1. Jennifer*

            All that is true, but I still don’t know how he thought calling the boss would make things any better. Calling someone who could actually go pick up his son would have made more sense.

      3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Just me, but I think the husband’s lapse in judgment is giving a damn what the boss said or thinks, not calling boss to express that opinion.

        My child needs to go to the ER, boss better be standing in the driveway if he/she/ze/it intends to stop me from taking them for urgent medical care.

      4. Smithy*

        This letter is an interesting case of being mindful of best practices so that when you’re placed in a stressful/unfair position that the options that seem reasonable – are in fact reasonable.

        Once the boss told the OP that she couldn’t leave to tend to a sick child, being distressed and calling someone for support is entirely understandable. But in trying to work through next steps, arriving at the husband calling the manager wasn’t more helpful than trying to support the OP collect themselves to either just walk out or reach out to HR or a grandboss. Ultimately, the OP may have been looking at (wildly unfortunate and unfair) professional repercussions either way, but by looping in her husband it’s clearly accaccerbated the position the boss feels entitled to.

  16. Olive*

    #1 wasn’t clear about how ill her child was, and given the description of “vomiting”, it seems likely that her husband didn’t make the best choice, but I can imagine calling my husband’s work in absolute desperation to say that he needed to be allowed to come to the hospital if the situation was serious enough.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I wondered if this instance was one of several sickness incidents and the boss had always ‘allowed’ OP to go before, but felt that it was equally the husband’s responsibility? I could understand (not necessarily agree with, but understand) a line of thinking like that.

      1. Cousin*

        In those cases I wonder who is being paid more – the husband or the wife. I’ve heard some complaints from managers about how, in a female-dominated industry that does not pay as well as other industries requiring less or equal education and licencing, the mothers are ‘always’ taking time off to stay with their children and ‘where are the fathers?’
        Well, statistically, the father probably earns more and therefore it makes more financial sense for the mother to stay home with the child?

        (Of course the actual reason also includes a lot of sociology and socialization, but I refuse to entertain the complaint while the manager is still underpaying their female employees. Once they’ve raised pay, they can commisserate at me.)

    2. Natalie*

      Depends on the kid’s age, really – vomiting in infants or toddlers can rapidly lead to shock, so it’s very much a “real” emergency.

      I don’t know that it matters that much. Whether or not the husband’s actions were somewhat explainable, the situation the boss has put LW in is untenable on multiple levels.

    3. Guin*

      I don’t understand what “needing permission to go to the hospital” even means. If my kid is so sick I need to take him to the hospital, I’m not going “ask permission” from my boss! I’m going to hotfoot it to the hospital immediately and work will get a one sentence email: “I am out for a family emergency.”

      1. OyHiOh*

        The reality of a vast swath of the US is such that an employee literally needs permission from a manager in order to leave work early for any reason other than the employee being rolled out on an ambulance gurney.

        When I did such work, I had bosses who were generally fairly humane and would have said “it’s your family, GO, get out of here, call and let me know how it’s going in a couple hours” but many retail/hospitality/service industry bosses are not like that at all.

  17. Bob*

    LW2: I would say nothing. When everyone can get a vaccine give it a few weeks then say you got the vaccine. That way you avoid having to explain why and no one would even think to ask since everyone is then eligible.

  18. rubble*

    LW2, the only situation I can see where you might want to be specific about why you qualified for vaccination would be IF you have a fat coworker AND when they talk/ask about vaccines they seem like they’re thinking “oh man, I wish I could get vaccinated now” AND you feel comfortable talking about your personal health situation with that particular person. then you could consider messaging them privately to let them know that the list of conditions that make people eligible is always expanding, and they might want to check it as they could now qualify. but I would only do that if you know that particular coworker well/you know they are comfortable having their weight brought up by a colleague.

    I know I would appreciate the heads-up, but I’m not fat, nor are my disabilities visible and heavily stigmatised because of it – I might be completely off-base about the appropriateness of a conversation like that as it involves assuming your coworker’s BMI, which is not something you should be thinking about in a normal workplace situation.

    but again, that’s the only reason I can think of where why you were eligible for the vaccine would be relevant at all in a workplace setting – that’s your private health information and you get to keep it as private as you want.

    1. yikes*

      Umm, absolutely not. That would really seem out of line for a coworker to do, even if you had a good working relationship. They can figure that out in their personal life via a doctor or a family/friend. I can see no good coming of messaging someone a list of medical qualifiers you *think* you know they are eligible for.

      1. rubble*

        I didn’t say anything about emailing them a list, just mentioning that they might want to check the list themselves. but noted.

  19. Retail Not Retail*

    LW3 – I think it’s great you get to meet with your potential team. My department got a new manager after just a bit over 3 months (speedy!) and we had no idea there was actually an interview and we didn’t see him tour the grounds and he did not meet us. When he had informal discussions with us, we learned they omitted many basic things in the interview.

    Which approach is more typical – at least seeing your team or being dropped in as “your new manager starts next week be good”

    1. OP 3*

      I’m really glad I get the opportunity to meet them and, more importantly that they are getting the opportunity to weigh in on their potential manager. Says a lot about this company that they care if the team has a rapport. Mainly I don’t want to ask anything that might put them in a weird spot considering everyone on the team will be there, vs a one on one conversation. But I’m really interested in getting to know all of them a bit too!

      1. TootsNYC*

        Some questions
        What is the most important thing the manager of this department can do to support you?
        Which is the toughest inter-departmental relationship, and why?

  20. Anonymity*

    Husband and Boss completely out of line. So is OP if she knew husband was calling Boss to tell him off. Something tells me husband’s demeanor was most likely aggressive prompting Boss to want a face to face talk. No one can stop you taking your kid to the hospital. I think bridges are too burned here.

    1. TechWorker*

      Boss is more over the line though, if your response to a stranger being aggressive is to assert that you need them to meet with you in person so you can tell them off.. literally wtf.

      1. Loraine*

        Well, just following the path the husband set in establishing a relationship. It’s not that weird to want to solve unclear relationship status in person. Just sucks that LW got caught in the middle

        1. EPLawyer*

          It’s weird to call in a non-employee to tell them off. If boss had chastised the LW and told her never to have her husband do that again, it was be within the bounds of acceptability (depending on he worded it, of course). But to demand a face to face with the husband is just compounding the inappropriateness of it all.

          This is not a social setting where you want to deal with the person who caused the problem directly. This is work. You deal with it in a professonaly way not a personal way.

          Should LW speak to her husband and make sure he never does that again — regardless of the circumstances? Yes. But that does not make the boss’ position correct.

          1. Loraine*

            It’s a private matter. The husband is not an employee and should sort out the issue he caused by making it a private matter.

            1. ceiswyn*

              And if it is a private matter and not an employment related one, then why has the LW been suspended from her employment?

              The LW’s husband crossed a line in a moment of high stress. Wrong, but understandable.

              The boss, who is not dealing with a family emergency and who is paid to understand and enforce professional norms, is currently punishing his employee, and indeed his company, for the behaviour of a third party who isn’t employed there. That is not merely wrong, but also utterly batguano.

    2. Rob aka Mediancat*

      I’m inclined to cut some slack in crises, though, which means that while under ordinary circumstances I’d be heavily critical of the father, here, not so much. And even under ordinary circumstances, the husband’s behavior wouldn’t warrant suspending the wife until the husband came in to be browbeaten. No, the boss’s actions are far more problematic to me.

  21. cncx*

    I’m also getting the vaccine because of BMI and sooner than a lot of other people in my area. I’ve still been open about it mainly because i want to be able to come in more (I don’t like home office). I’ve been matter of fact, i’ve asked for two half days off the days of my appointments to my new boss, and it has been fine. If anything, since i have a job which has some presence in the office, it’s probably good news to management that I can’t hit them with liability or something if i get the rona.

    What may help me “be honest” is that i also have some other health issues that people at work know about and my guess is if pressed, anyone who cares to think about it long enough probably thinks I’m getting it because of BMI *and* the other health issues. But i don’t really think anyone is thinking about me and my weight too long and hard.

    1. mreasy*

      And as fat activist Aubrey Gordon put it, the medical community by and large discriminates against and provides much worse care to fat people, so having a high BMI alone likely does make even the healthiest fat person more vulnerable when it comes to covid.

      1. cncx*

        exactly! That’s why i had absolutely zero qualms about being first in line for my vaccine as soon as the slots opened up. I am very specifically worried about not getting good care if i do get seriously ill, and being completely disregarded or told to lose weight if i get long covid.

      2. TootsNYC*

        and frankly, this virus is more likely to kill fat people. The point is to save lives!!!

  22. Green great dragon*

    I agree you shouldn’t ever call a spouse’s work unless spouse is totally incapable, but if LW was holding a vomiting, upset young child they were trying to get to hospital, then I can see the husband making the call instead of prising upset, ill son off LW so they could make the call. If he rang up later and/or son is older, that would be different.

    1. MK*

      I think OP was already at work when the child became ill? As for the husband’s reaction, it really depends on factors we don’t know. If I am out of town and my child falls ill, and my spouse’s boss refuses to let them off work to take care of them, or if my child is seriously ill in hospital and I am desperate in the waiting room alone because my spouse’s boss refuses to let them go, yes, I can see how in the moment I might call the boss to yell at them. But the OP’s wording is a bit strange: the husband apparently called to ask why the boss wouldn’t let the OP go? Was this in the moment or the next day?

  23. Speaks to Dragonflies*

    Op1, I know it may not be possible, but another job may be in order. Yes, your husband stepped way out of bounds calling your boss, and an apology could be in order. Not condoning the actions, but I can understand how they feel….
    But your boss “indefinitely suspending” you is so, so much worse. It’s petty, childish, and malicious. Sounds to me like your boss’s ego got bruised when called out on not letting you care for your sick child and is now trying to “punish” you for your husbands actions. Seeing how punitively this boss is dealing with the issue,I think it’s a safe bet this isn’t the only screwball thing happening at your job. Is there a usefull HR department to turn to? Maybe a local or state law of some form? If I were in your situation and this is the only reason they could give for a suspension, I would try to file for unemployment. Yes, they will probably fight it, but if this is all they had to hang me with, maybe having to explain it to the unemployment review board would let them see how ridiculous this is. Law minded folks of the commentariet, could this be considered a form of constructive dismissal? Would any of the above ramblings help the OP?

    1. TootsNYC*

      Maybe a local or state law of some form?

      with this suspension, I would absolutely contact the state Department of Labor. That’s why we pay taxes–to establish these government agencies that will enforce labor laws and fight on your behalf.
      If someone stole the porch swing off your porch, you’d absolutely call the police to report the theft.

      That’s what this is–wage theft–and the Department of Labor can help. They can tell you whether you qualify for unemployment (OP probably does), and they can tell you whether the employer has broken a law, and they can enforce the return of your wages, if appropriate, and sometimes penalties, which are paid directly TO YOU.

  24. Elderberries For Brunch*

    Removed because wrong and led to a long off-topic debate. – Alison

    1. Elderberries For Brunch*

      “Allowed”? I’m not talking about what you’re allowed to do. That’s something you assumed. I’m talking about what the OP should do and what people do on their own when they’re being truthful vs. untruthful.

      1. Colette*

        I disagree with your advice; there is no reason for the OP to be more specific. It’s just not relevant, and if they don’t believe her because she says “family” instead of “parents”, that’s a sign that there is something badly wrong there.

      2. Gray Lady*

        You’re confusing cause and effect.

        People are vague when they are untruthful, because it helps to hide the truth when you’re vague.

        People can be vague for other reasons, and typically people do NOT associate vagueness with untruthfulness unless they have a prior reason to be concerned that the person is being untruthful. There is no reason for anyone to be concerned about LW’s truthfulness. It’s hard to imagine a boss (unless it’s a very bad boss who constantly expects employees to lie to him for absolutely no reason) assuming the kind of hard skepticism that immediately spots deception in “I’m staying with family”, as though that would be something likely to be lied about in the first place.

        Vagueness is associated with lying, but vagueness does not indicate lying.

        1. Colette*

          Yes. If your spouse is three hours late getting home and explains it by “I had some stuff to do” with no other explanation, that’s sketchy. If your coworker says “I’ve got to go, I’ve got some stuff to do”, that’s not sketchy because the relationship isn’t one where it would be normal/expected to know what is going on in their life.

    2. UKDancer*

      Yes. If I were talking to someone who knew me and knew my family well I’d probably specify but if it’s someone at work (my boss or the person who books the travel in my company) I’d just say something like “I don’t need a hotel for the conference in Bristol because I’m staying with family.” All they need to know is that I don’t need a hotel. My boss doesn’t care if I’m staying with Uncle Pastuzo and Aunt Lucy, my parents or my former university flatmate. If we were talking about the details of what I was planning to do in Bristol I might mention something more detailed but I might not.

      Most people (in my experience) really don’t care that much about what logistical arrangements their staff are making as long as the work parts are done. I know one of my staff has family in Bradford because when we went there for work, he stayed with them. I don’t have a clue who they are and I don’t need to know. As long as he shows up for the conference we’re attending, I’m happy for him to please himself in his leisure time.

  25. drinking Mello Yello*

    re: #2:

    Ask not what you can do for medical fatphobia, ask what medical fatphobia can do for you. B)

    Srsly tho, you don’t have to tell people why you qualified for the vaccine at all. I qualified for the vaccine for the same reason and I’m not even bothering to tell people that I’m vaccinated aside from my doctors and my friends.

    1. DoubleE*

      In my state, when they opened up vaccines to high-risk people under age 65, the list of underlying conditions was pretty broad, so a lot of people qualified. At my workplace, most people have been happily sharing the news when they get vaccinated, and no one is asking why anyone was eligible.

  26. Workerbee*

    #1 Don’t encourage your husband to report to the principal’s office like he’s a school kid. Your boss has already created a ridiculous and reprehensible environment and I join the chorus of those wishing you speedy luck in your job search.

    I also think your boss is quite happy keeping you around as someone to exercise his tainted power over.

  27. Lions and Deer*

    OP #1: Who is your boss’s boss? Is this some retail outlet? A restaurant? I would go as high as I could (and loop in the media if necessary). They refused to allow you leave to take your sick child to the hospital. Repeat that and see how ridiculous it sounds.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      +1000, I cannot wrap my brain around it. I have reported to people in the past that, for all I could tell, appeared to be emotionless robots without any empathy, but if you told them that your child or parent was seriously ill and needed your help, they were all “go go go, be with them, work can wait!” I never thought I’d hear of a manager responding otherwise.

  28. DoubleE*

    I agree that LW #1’s husband shouldn’t have contacted LW’s boss, but if their son was sick enough to need to go to the hospital, the LW and their husband were probably pretty stressed out which can definitely affect your judgment. A reasonable boss would take that into consideration, but if LW’s boss was reasonable LW would have been allowed to leave work, and the husband wouldn’t have called.

  29. Moi*

    #4, your company might have a policy around this that could help out. My company has a policy that if you stay with family/friends on a work trip, you get a stipend to pass onto the host. The stipend is less than a hotel might cost, but still a nice bonus for the host while the company saves money.

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      Yes. My company too wants to know where someone is staying if they arent staying at a hotel. We dont need to know specifics like address etc, but we do need to justify it. So Just let whoever does the travel arrangement know that you don’t need a hotel as you will stay with family nearby.

      I would argue that it would be safer to stay with your parents, whom you will know are taking the correct precautions, etc, than to stay at a hotel when you don’t know what the cleaning etc is like.

    2. Jim*

      I have a friend who usually stays with me when he’s in my city for business, and his company doesn’t offer a direct stipend for him to give to the host… but it does allow him to expense the cost of taking me out for a meal or two.

  30. Cat*

    #4 – I would personally leave the money aspect out of it entirely unless you’re working at a small place that runs on a shoestring budget. Big Corp does not really care about your $100 room at the Hampton Inn and saying you’d be doing it to save the company money would seem a little… out of touch with how little that amount of money means to them? Just a “hey, no need to book lodging for me; since my parents live so close to the event I’ll be happy to stay with them” seems sufficient to me.

    1. Absurda*

      Not necessarily. I work for a massive fortune 500 company and they actually have staying with family/friends written into their travel policy. If we stay with someone rather than go to a hotel we can actually give them a hostess gift or take them out to dinner or something like that as a thank you and expense it (up to $100 if I remember correctly). Depending on hotel rates, location and duration of stay this could be a cost savings for the company.

      I’ve taken advantage of this a couple of times. My boss didn’t really care either way as long as I was happy and showed up to the meetings on time.

      1. Marillenbaum*

        My university travel policy had the same thing when I was working there. It benefitted them to save the money, and for professors on conference travel, being able to spend less of their grant funding meant they could stretch that funding further.

  31. WellRed*

    I’m surprised and disappointed by all the comments trying to excuse the husband’s overreach. Presumably, OP can speak for herself.

    1. Firecat*

      I think there is a difference between understanding someone’s poor response and excusing it as not a problem at all

    2. Purple Cat*

      I don’t think people are excusing the husband. He was well out of bounds, it’s just this is a workplace column and the boss is even more out of bounds, that’s where the focus is.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      In my mind both husband and boss are out of line (unless husbands call started as “I’m out of town/not permitted to drive/OP has the only car – then I am more understanding of said call). But this was a situation where presumably husband was just as stressed as OP. I’m willing to give some allowance for less than optimal thinking when in a stressful situation.

      Boss on the other hand seems to be far more out of line – holding the job hostage until he can yell at the husband for calling him? Yeah – really not impressed.

  32. James*

    LW #4: At the company I work for traveling for work is part of the job. Many people take jobs specifically because they can stay with family/friends while they’re there. I know one person who leveraged that into being the lead field person on a jobsite. It’s one of the perks of the job–as long as you do the work and follow the rules, the company is perfectly happy to let you visit family and friends.

    I don’t care where my staff stay–they can stay in a hotel, with family, in tents, they can sleep in a van down by the river or in the bed of their truck for all I care. I’ve had staff do all of that (there are numerous options for bathing while truck-camping). As long as you’re on time, sober, and fit for duty, where you sleep and what you do during your down time is 100% your business.

    I wouldn’t even ask. I would say “Oh, I have family in the area. I’m going to call and see if I can stay with them and catch up with each other!” Treat it like an added little extra–the stars aligned and you’re taking advantage of the opportunity. Nothing at all weird about it.

  33. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #2

    Why do you need to tell your coworkers you got vaccinated? I could see sharing if you’re headed back to the office very soon or are there already since others might feel more comfortable knowing, or you want them to feel more comfortable. But you said everyone is remote until the Fall with a few one-offs.

  34. Leah K*

    #5 – you are making it sound like you have two offers on the table to choose from. That is not the case. You have one offer from company B and an invitation to apply from company A that may or may not materialize in an offer. Company A may have every intention of giving you this job right now and they may very well be making future plans involving you. However, they haven’t made you an offer, which means that nothing is stopping them from offering the job to someone else if a better candidate comes along. It’s a business decision.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed – the only actual offer you have is from Company B. I would take it as well.

  35. Oryx*

    As a fat person who frequently talks about being fat positive in a world that hates fat people, I a) totally understand not wanting to talk about why you got vaccinated but b) have been very open about why I personally was eligible.

    I’ve spent the past year terrified of getting COVID. Not because I believe I am more at risk of dying because of my weight, but because I believe doctors would deprioritize my health because of my weight. I know what the “science” says about the correlation between BMI and COVID, but as any fat person can tell you, it’s just as likely that medical fatphobia is at play in those numbers. Medical doctors try to reduce everything to our weight and/or don’t take us seriously and people die as a result. I went to my doctor once because I found a lump in my breast and all she wanted to talk about was my weight. (I’m fine, btw.)

    So, yeah. I am far more scared of medical fatphobia in the age of COVID-19 than anything else, and the only way to challenge those systems is by speaking out about them. It’s also a very personal choice and if you aren’t comfortable talking about the why, that’s nobody’s business. But for once, being fat gives me an advantage and I happily took it and talk about it.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Solidarity my friend. It took 20 years before the medical profession investigated one chronic pain issue of mine because they just said ‘lose weight first’. I can very much understand the fear of contracting a dangerous virus and being treated worse because of your size.

  36. Purple Cat*

    LW 4, check your company’s travel policy. At one point (not sure if it’s still in effect) we weren’t allowed to stay with friends or family during business travel due to liability concerns. This was explicitly stated as part of our travel protocols though.

          1. James*

            There can be a few. If you get audited it can be tricky to explain why an employee didn’t charge hotel costs, for example. It can appear that you are banking the cost, and making the employee pay for the hotel. Proving that didn’t happen is difficult, since the employee’s parents aren’t likely to give a receipt. One way around this is a travel allowance that includes hotel costs, but that gets tricky as well.

            Employers can also have had bad experiences with people staying with family. Family gets complicated. Emotions can run high, your relatives can talk you into bad ideas (“Let’s go out for breakfast–your boss won’t care if you’re a few minutes late”), and “within driving distance” expands for family, sometimes to unreasonable amounts.

            None of this is necessarily insurmountable. But it can be annoying enough that an employer may want to avoid it.

          2. TootsNYC*

            you are out of town at the request of your boss; if you’re injured at your relative’s home, you aren’t covered in the same way.

    1. doreen*

      Definitely check your travel policy – my employer’s policy is almost the opposite. There is a method that provides a fixed allowance for lodging and meals without requiring receipts- and the manual specifically says this method is to be used when lodging with friends or family.

  37. blink14*

    OP #3 – Keep it vague! I do think it’s important to share that you’ve been vaccinated (unless it puts you in a place at work where being vaccinated = everything’s fine and you need to get back to the office immediately). There are a variety of underlying conditions that qualify people “early”, and that’s part of the problem with the larger vaccine conversation. You aren’t qualifying “early”, you are qualified under your state’s plan, in a stage where you have a valid medical reason to get it. That’s it! No need to get into details. You did your duty to yourself and your local community by getting the vaccine. I think most people will just be happy to hear that you’ve gotten the vaccine.

    I qualified under the medical stage due to multiple conditions in my state. I also could’ve used my BMI number to qualify, but it wasn’t necessary, though I absolutely would’ve if I needed to. The BMI scale is complete BS, the medical community knows it, and it’s a horrible way to determine someone’s health. But because no one else has come up with a solution, that is the only scale system to use. And it sucks, because there is such negativity around weight. Even at my thinnest as an adult, I was barely within the BMI for my height, and I looked too thin (not intentionally, I was losing weight too easily and not even trying). I hope this pushes young medical professionals and researchers to come up with a new way to define weight categories in a different way that takes many more factors into consideration

  38. Elenia*

    I don’t know if we have unusually polite people at work or what, but no one has been asking that I saw. People just cheerfully announce “I got my first shot today!” And while there is some slight feeling of envy, most people are happy. Our state also allowed everyone over 30 to get it.
    There was a poster up above who said they don’t care who gets it. I feel like that now. At first I was a little irritated but honestly the more people vaccinated the better it is for all of us. Get vaccinated! It’s all good!

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I was irritated for my state at one point, because other states were opening up their eligibility faster than ours was. I explained it to people that my irritation was not with them for getting the vaccine, but more like “how are we so far behind everybody else, what is our governor thinking.” Then ours suddenly saw the light and opened it up to all adults over a few weeks’ period. Here’s hoping that the states that haven’t yet, will follow soon!

    2. OyHiOh*

      My boss stuck his head in my office this morning to ask if I have an appointment yet. Said no, on wait lists. And then he told me a tip he’d gotten from someone else about where to look. It’s a bit of a mess but with a tiny bit of luck, I’ll be able to make an appointment this week. I would never have known, if he hadn’t asked.

  39. Lifeandlimb*

    OP#2: Congratulations, and you have no obligation to say why you got vaccinated! You can just say “I got vaccinated!” If people ask, you could mention that you have a comorbidity and leave it at that. I’ve had a few friends who have expressed similar conflicting feelings of shame about the validity of their place in line because their BMI qualifies. But logical people should understand that the more people who get vaccinated, the better. People who are bitter over this don’t deserve your time of day.

  40. blink14*

    #4 – not at all! I know so many people who have done this. A friend who used to work in public accounting, and was often on assignment around the state, would stay at her parent’s second home for a yearly assignment in that area that usually lasted about 2 months. She had a deal worked out with the company to be reimbursed for internet costs, and she still had a per diem meal budget, but the company saved a lot of money by not paying for a hotel room for 2 months.

    The one thing I would watch here, and maybe reframe your explanation, is saying that you want to do it only because it would save the company money. That could put you in a bad spot down the line with this company, or at a future job where the environment is different. You don’t want to give the impression that you’ll always find an alternative accommodation. I would frame it as “My parents actually live close by, I’m planning to stay with them the night before and drive in. This will also save our company the cost of a hotel, so it’s a win-win!”

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      My employer actually has a policy that provides a smaller stipend if you stay with friends or family rather than a hotel.

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      I kinda wonder if the LW #4 is younger and new to work world and thinks that this would look bad on them or something?

  41. Salad Daisy*

    #5 I was in a similar situation. Working temp while looking for a permanent job, I was hired by Company A for a 3 month project, not in my exact area of expertise. Nothing was ever said about extending my contracts until 2 weeks before the end date, when my manager said something like “we have decided to extend your contract.” Not asking me if I wanted to stay, just renewing me like a library book. By that time, I had already found a job in my field at Company B that started the week after my contract ended, so I left. You have no obligation to Company A, you need to do what is best for you.

    #1 Who eventually took your son to the hospital? I would have gotten up and walked out in such a situation.

  42. Jennifer*

    Re: vaccines

    I’m so sick of vaccine-shaming. It’s no one’s business why you were able to get the vaccine. My brother looks like a perfectly healthy young guy but he has an autoimmune disease. You can’t tell just by looking at people and no one should have to perform their illness or disability for the public. I would just tell them you have a health issue that made you eligible earlier but you can’t really share more than that.

  43. hlyssande*

    As a fat person, I get so, so tired of people being ‘concerned for my health.’ Might as well make it work for us in this case. Either we’re soooo unhealthy (which means we should be getting vaccinated!) or maybe they aren’t really worried about our health after all.

    Alison’s suggested response is the best professional one though.

  44. Jennifer*

    #1 I mean, if you really need this job and don’t have anything else lined up, you may have to bit the bullet and ask your husband to come in, which is awful, but going without a paycheck in a pandemic is pretty awful too. It goes without saying that you need to be throwing your job search into hyperdrive if you haven’t already. Your husband was wrong here. I’m sure he probably wasn’t thinking clearly in such a stressful situation, but I don’t know what he hoped to accomplish by calling your boss. Yes, your boss’s decision not to let you leave to take your son to the hospital is horrible, but someone that unreasonable isn’t going to magically get common sense or compassion because your husband called. Just something for both of you to remember if this happens again while you’re still working there.

    1. TootsNYC*

      honestly, I’d be worried about my husband coming in, were I OP#1.
      I’d be worried that the husband would make it worse. He’d be understandably still pissed about the original incident. And then to be treated like such an underling by a boss he doesn’t actually work for?
      Some guys would be hard put not to poke the boss in the nose, either metaphorically or literally.

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      I can see the boss having the husband there with the LW and then firing her in front of him.

      I really hope there is an HR or someone above boss that they can talk to because this is so wrong!

  45. Meg*

    I also got vaccinated because of my BMI. I was ready with a short “the BMI is racist, sexist, outdated, and never intended for use in a medical setting, but if I’m in any danger it’s not getting good treatment because I’m fat, so I’m going to take this one opportunity” or something along those lines–wasn’t sure what the second half was lol. Part of me was happy to talk about that, and I have had variations of that conversation with some people. BUT I ultimately decided that I didn’t want to contribute to people having to explain their medical information, since there’s plenty of things that would qualify you that you might not want to talk about publicly, especially at work.
    For me, it’s been a non-issue. I’ve mentioned it in passing in work settings and no one has asked why. A couple times I’ve mentioned that I’m eligible under the current guidelines, or that I didn’t do anything shady, but that’s it. I think people are getting more aware that there could be medical conditions at play and are less likely to ask (is that wishful thinking? maybe!).

    1. Sparkles McFadden*

      I went back and forth on getting vaccinated based on my BMI or waiting to become eligible by age. Part of it was the BMI stigma, but a larger part felt like I was taking someone else’s spot. I am able to isolate better than many, and I didn’t want to take the vaccine away from someone who needed it more right now. I checked in with my doctor’s office and a pharmacist I know who deals with vaccine distribution. The response: “Technically, everyone is taking someone else’s spot. The more people who get vaccinated the better. You are eligible and, as your health care professional, I am asking you to get vaccinated to stay healthy.”

      …and surprise…no one cared why I was eligible. They just asked for help with navigating the appointment process so they’d be ready when they qualified.

      1. Meg*

        oh I had a whole meltdown/crisis of ethics about how I shouldn’t be in this tier, and I was taking a shot from someone who needed it more (including people fatter than me who face greater bias in healthcare). I’ve also been able to work from home since the start of this, and get my groceries delivered, etc. I was all set to wait until I was eligible in general population, but I was talked into it by people I really trust for similar reasons that you did. That and the very real possibility of facing sub-par care if I was hospitalized–that that’s the health threat putting me more at risk, not my actual weight.

        And like you found…no one cared.

    2. Purple Cat*

      I hate the BMI and that I’m categorized obese, but I was all set to ride that gravy train to get an appointment.
      Turns out I was eligible earlier due to my job category.

      1. Meg*

        YUP. this is the one time my weight is going to work in my favor in a medical setting, and not cause me to get worse care? YES PLEASE

  46. Julie*

    Just to add to #2, if after you say “I qualified under the current rules” someone leaps in with “oh yeah, that BMI thing allowed a lot of people” or “my sister in law got it cuz she’s fat too” or whatever you can always push back with something like “I don’t really want to discuss the details of my health, thanks”. I agree with Alison this is a good time for all of us to be building up that expectation of privacy around medical details like this.

  47. Firecat*

    #3 My husband was eligible for a vaccine because he was polite to a Walmart pharmacists who put him on the “missed appts open vial list”.

    There’s no telling why anyone is eligible at this point.

    I missed the tier for BMI – I assumed a young person like me wasn’t eligible. And whole I was glared out when I got the shot by the elderly population there….That’s also par for the course in my town.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      #3 My husband was eligible for a vaccine because he was polite to a Walmart pharmacists who put him on the “missed appts open vial list”.

      Pay close attention to the way Wal-Mart employees are treated. If you treat them halfway decent, you’re often a prince(ss) in the eyes of member of the cult of Walton.

      1. Firecat*

        Yeah it was terrible how everyone else was behaving during his shot slot. He said they were literally cussing them out and calling them lazy for having to wait 5 minutes.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I think you should be kind to employees who are trying to service your needs everywhere, every time, but something about WalMart’s business model seems to invite abuse upon their employees.

  48. JC*

    OP #2, I feel you. I qualified for a medical reason that I do not like to talk about. I did tell people I was vaccinated and was worried that someone would ask why I qualified, but so far no one has. I did volunteer that it was because of a “medical issue” but not which one. If someone was rude enough to ask which one, I likely would have said that I’d rather not talk about it and leave it at that.

    I am kind of concerned that people think I lied to get the vaccine, but oh well! They can think what they want. But OP, you are definitely not alone!

  49. I should really pick a name*

    LW #5
    Ask yourself this, if now’s not the time to leave, when is?
    There’s never going to be a time when leaving isn’t going to cause some kind of inconvenience.
    This is the end of your contract period AND they’ve posted the position, so they’re clearly prepared for you to not stick around.

  50. Mbarr*

    #2, I feel your pain. In my country, I qualified for a vaccine in Phase 1 because people in my ethnic group were rolled in Phase 1. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of racism towards my people.

    Since I don’t “present” as my ethnicity, most people don’t realize I fall into that group unless I say something. Whenever I start at a new company, I always have to do an evaluation and essentially decide if I “want to come out of the closet” and reveal my ethnicity.

    So honestly, I got my vaccine last month, but I haven’t told anyone in my company. They know I’m a member of my ethnic group. I don’t expect any blow back – but I also don’t want to contribute to resentment towards “my people.” (And trust me, I’m angry that I feel this way, because I shouldn’t be embarrassed/worried about people finding out that I got a vaccine. I don’t want to lie, but it’s also a political minefield.)

  51. lookie loo*

    just to chime in on the vaccine q–in my office, a bunch of people of varying ages and body sizes have gotten it, and no one has asked a single question about why those folks qualified. it may be less of a big deal than you think.

  52. Sylvan*

    #2: People qualify for all sorts of reasons that are and aren’t visible. Sometimes people are just in the right place at the right time when a clinic has spare vaccines. You don’t have to explain.

    When some of my coworkers have excitedly shared that they were vaccinated, I haven’t even assumed they had medical conditions. They had the chance to get a shot and they took it. Good for them.

  53. WantonSeedStitch*

    I gave birth back in November, and last month, I got an e-mail from the hospital where I gave birth saying that according to their medical records on me, I was eligible for the vaccine under the current stage of the rollout. I was surprised, because I did NOT have any of the conditions that would have qualified me. I can only assume that they ran a list of conditions against their database that included pregnancy, and because I was pregnant when I was last admitted there, the system spit my record out as one that was eligible. It didn’t take into account the fact that the baby is now on the outside. Oh well. I figured that me getting a vaccine was good for other people, not just me, because HERD IMMUNITY! So I signed up, and I’ve had my first shot!

    1. Natalie*

      They might have assumed you’re breastfeeding, the vaccine seems to impart some measure of antibodies through breast milk.

    2. Magenta*

      I’m not sure that would be the case, in the UK we’ve been told that pregnant women shouldn’t get the vaccine as it hasn’t been tested on pregnant women, and it would be unethical to even consider it.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        In the US, the CDC encourages those who are pregnant to consider it. True, it hasn’t been specifically tested on those with known pregnancies – few medications are. But they know enough about how it works, and from the limited data available, to not call it “unethical.” Anything but, in fact.

      2. Cat Tree*

        That’s odd. I’m pregnant and I work in vaccines (so not a medical expert, but pretty knowledgeable). I jumped at the chance to get a vaccine. We know there is absolutely a risk to pregnant women and their babies from Covid. We know this group is both more susceptible to catching it AND more likely to have severe complications or die. Nothing is ever risk-free, including vaccines. But it’s really irresponsible to advise pregnant women to continue being exposed to a huge risk to avoid the much smaller risk of vaccination.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Placentas are a particular growth medium of a lot of exceptionally dangerous viruses (I did a study on Lassa once – don’t look it up if you get squicked at all) so it’s generally a good idea to prevent an infection getting that far.

          I need to do some more reading regarding the blood/breastmilk transmission of both the virus and the vaccines though.

      3. MEH*

        This is untrue, at least according to They don’t recommend routine vax for pregnant people, but for people who think they are at high risk, the recommendation in to talk to their doctor. The website also noted that the review by organizations such as WHO of the available data ‘has raised no concern about safety in pregnancy’.

        Link in following comment.

        1. MEH*

          Sorry for the double post. The site hadn’t shown the first one went through so I wrote it again.

      4. MEH*

        That’s not true, according to www (dot) gov (dot) uk. While they do not routinely recommend the vax for pregnant people, they say that for people who think they’re at high risk, they should talk to their doctor about it. They also note that organizations such as WHO have studied the available data and “has raised no concern about safety in pregnancy”.

        Link in follow-up comment.

      5. TiffIf*

        There is emerging evidence that it is safe for those who are pregnant:

        Though the official word from the CDC is more on the talk to your doctor, we don’t have a ton of data:

        However, these are I think talking about the prevalent vaccines available in the US, not necessarily the UK.

      6. Tired of Covid-and People*

        I have specifically seen medical doctors here in the US say that it is safe and recommended for pregnant women to get the Covid vaccine.

  54. Colorado*

    I actually work in the pharma development world but I don’t see the necessity to announce your vaccination status to everyone. Yes, I’m very proud of the work the industry does but my decision to be vaccinated or health issues, BMI, age is no one’s business and when it’s my time, it’s my time. If people want to be selfish and “jump the line”, that’s on them. I don’t get all the hub-bub around the status of vaccinated or not. Maybe I’m just burned out on it all.

  55. PinkiePieWorksHard*

    LW#2, I qualified early because the state of California opened it up to those with mental illness. I’m actually somewhat out about my mental health status, but certainly not in casual conversation. There really is no casual conversation in which you say that you “jumped the line” because of persistent suicidal ideation. What I can tell you is that there were a few “How did you get it” questions, which I deflected; honestly, however, no one pried. Everyone, in fact, celebrated. And as states are opening up more and more, it will become less and less of a thing. Whatever you tell your co-workers, congratulations! You’ve done something not only good for yourself but for the public health good, and I’m happy for you!!

    1. OyHiOh*

      New York state has some provocative data indicating that people with certain mental illnesses who get COVID are at increased risk of hospitalization and more severe symptoms so I think it’s very good that some states did open up mental illness as an early qualifier, and wish that more had done so.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Holy heck where can I apply? (partial joke). As far as I know there’s no mental conditions that the NHS considers to be a factor and frankly I’d like to get SOME use out of the chapters of the DSM I fit into…

  56. Anonamouse*

    #4 It’s great that you have an option to stay with family and it’s nice that you want to save the company money but I suggest determining what you want to do first. As Alison always says, working is a business transaction not personal. If you want to have a nice hotel stay and the company has budgeted funds to do so, then don’t feel guilty about staying there. If staying with family is more comfortable than a hotel than do that but I wouldn’t stress about “saving the company money”.

    1. TootsNYC*

      Good point!

      Some of it might depend on how many nights. And of course, what your parents are like.
      And how much time you’ll have at home; if you’re just going to have time to go to sleep and get up, it might not be nice to Mom and Dad to treat them like a hotel.

  57. Paris Geller*

    . . . yes, I would definitely tell someone I’m with “family” if I’m with just my parents, or just my spouse, or just my (nonexistent) kids. That does not read at all weird to me and I would not find it strange to hear someone doing the same.

  58. Esmeralda*

    OP #2. Are people in your office especially nosy? In my office, we’ve been sharing “I got an appointment” and everyone says “Yay!” or “Yay! mine is next week” or “Yay! cross your fingers for me, I’m still trying to get an appt!”

    We all know that everyone has a different reason for being able to get vaxxed. Nobody asks.

    I’d just go with, “Yay, I’m vaccinated!” And just respond with “I’m super happy about getting the vaccine!” to anyone who asks why, or who says “is it because of your….size?” (Or everyone’s favorite, “Wow.”)

  59. doreen*

    The most you can maybe assume from someone saying something vague is that a certain specific event didn’t happen – for example, if someone calls and says she’s not coming in today due to a household emergency , I might be surprised to find out that her house burned to the ground or that she has three feet of water in her basement, because I would expect someone that happened to to be more specific. But that doesn’t mean I think she’s lying about the personal emergency – just that I expect the lack of specificity to refer to something more mundane like a clogged drain that hasn’t resulted in a flood (yet).

  60. I'm just here for the cats*

    I’m a little confused by #1. Was she at work when the husband called the boss? If she was at work and found out he needed to leave and the boss said she couldn’t go. Then just leave. Unless he has locked her into the office there is nothing that can stop you from leaving. Yes he could have threatened to fire her but she is already suspended so it didn’t matter. And if it was a medical emergency I think FMLA would be a factor. She has to leave to care for the child who is extremely ill.

    If she was not at work, why didn’t she just not come in, or come in late? You are not beholden to your boss. Workers are not slaves who have to have permission to care for family members.

  61. JustaTech*

    It’s really interesting that this has come up today with the other threads about getting vaccinated and *not* sharing so much about your personal life at work.

  62. Neener*

    I don’t even really understand LW4’s concern…is it the appearance that you’re turning this work event into a personal trip somehow by being able to spend time with your parents in the off-hours? Or something about seeming immature to stay with parents? Would it be “unprofessional” for an employee to live with their parents full time?

    I don’t mean to criticize LW4 for asking, just struggling to figure out what the problem could possibly be. Other than work-culture values around keeping personal life separate, like SO separate that you shouldn’t be allowed to visit your family when you’re not on vacation??

  63. Slipping The Leash*

    #2 — I’m right there with you. But I found a certain freedom in saying, literally, in a department meeting, “Woo-hoo! I finally found the upside to being a fat-ass!” I just…owned it. Got some chuckles and lots of congratulations. I think that felt better to me than thinking about my team members possibly speculating would have. Your mileage, of course, may vary, and you should only do what you’re comfortable with. Good luck and be well!

    1. Pam Poovey*

      My favorite* thing is when people use “I’m just concerned about your health” as an excuse to be fatphobic, but when something that’s a net good for our health, like being vaccine eligible, happens, suddenly they don’t want us to partake. Almost like it was all about hate and never about health.

      *lol no

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        (Pam was definately my favourite Archer character – I want her tattoo)

        I’ve certainly thrown the ‘but I’m concerned about your health!’ thing back at a few people recently after they started whining about my weight being a factor for the vaccine. Will recommend doing it at a safe distance – some people get v angry.

  64. Canadian Valkyrie*

    #1 while I think your bosses behaviour is grossly disproportionate, I’m also wondering if your husbands behaviour was so wildly inappropriate that he’s now questioning your judgement or whether he wants someone on staff who’s husband will phone him everyone you don’t get your way. For example, I’m wondering if your husbands behaviour was really belligerent and that he (naively/stupidly) thinks that getting to reprimand your husband / make sure it doesn’t happen again is the best path forwards.

    Obviously it’s idiotic though – he should 100% be talking to you instead and making it clear that he and other staff will not initiate contact with your husband going forth, that childcare problems are not /his/ problems and that if you cannot leave work to get your sick kid then you’ll have to get your husband, a family member, a baby sitter, or (worst case scenario) an ambulance to handle it going forth. That said, I would hope if your child was so ill as to need an ambulance that your boss would be sensible enough to let you leave to handle that extreme of a situation.

    All in all, I’m sorry this is happening to you. It sounds like your husband and boss are both handling this terribly. Personally, I would start looking for a new job if I were you, because jeez, there must be other problems if this is what’s going on. But if that’s not an option on, I hope you can find a resolution and get back to work.

    1. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

      It’s not clear to me from the letter what the timeline on her husband calling or what information he was given. If the husband called days later, that’s one thing. But I read the letter as it all happening pretty simultaneously, and can easily see a situation where LW’s husband called (her or her workplace) because he got the news of their child being ill and couldn’t get there (maybe he was out-of-town or his office is much father away) then is told that LW isn’t being allowed to leave. If he then called back (or called her boss directly) to make sure they know it’s a true emergency, I don’t think you can fault him at all even if he got heated when they kept denying his wife leave to take care of their child.

  65. Jan*

    I’m going to put the boss in letter#1 up there with the hiring manager who wrote in wanting to know if she could discipline a no-show job candidate. Who didn’t even work for the company.

  66. Lauren*

    OP #2: I’ll plug another reason people shouldn’t feel entitled to know why you qualified (and why you are not obligated to share): the reason someone qualified could be that they are a caregiver for someone else (like my friend who qualified because she and her husband are the caregivers for her 2 year old, who has cancer. She’s been open about her/her daughter’s story, but in that case, it’s not even her medical information that she’d be sharing, it’s her daughter’s)

  67. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

    OP#2: I live somewhere where for the most part, most of the working-aged population hasn’t been eligible to get vaccinated yet unless they have a qualifying medical condition (including high BMI) or are health care workers. Even someone who isn’t providing information about their health status…well, if they’re in their 30s, it’s implied that there’s a medical reason that they got a vaccine already, or they jumped the line.

    If you live somewhere like where I do, where open availability of the vaccine is probably a few months away, I’d err on the side of not announcing your vaccination to colleagues until your age group is closer to eligibility. Not because of fatphobia and the associated stigma, but because it helps to protect the discretion of your colleagues in similar circumstances who don’t really want people at work thinking or knowing about their health status.

  68. Neeko*

    #2 Plenty of people I know have been getting offered the vaccine at regular doctor’s appointments. You don’t owe any explanation!

  69. Pam Poovey*

    LW #2 — qualifying because of BMI is not something to be ashamed of! I look at it this way: the medical establishment is so incredibly fatphobic that they literally kill people. Just this once we get to use their fatphobia to our advantage and get our vaccines earlier (even though the link between weight and covid complications is basically zilch). You didn’t jump the line, you were eligible and took your rightful place. Being fat is nothing to be embarrassed about and getting your vaccine is a good thing.

    That said, you don’t have to tell anyone anything about your vaccine unless you truly want to. For any reason. But I hope you can let go of any weight-based shame or embarrassment because everything will be so much better.

  70. Ally*

    I may be reading too much into this, but I think there may be some cultural nuances at play with #1. I work oversees in a country with very different cultural and labor norms than in the US and this whole situation would not be uncommon.

  71. Mihaela*

    Please, that job already deserved to be left, one phone call from an angry father wouldn’t have mattered anyway, the boss had it coming.

  72. Anonomatopoeia*

    Hey LW 2? There’s a lot of uproar and conversation about this among people who are fat. Here’s a framing I want to share with you because I feel like you’re experiencing some shame about your body, which …your body is valid, okay?

    Anyway: there are lots and lots of times that people who live in fat bodies get seriously awful medical care. Seriously. Awful. We are expected to engage in disordered eating in order to be allowed to get medical treatment for eating disorders (not even kidding…); expected to simply tolerate pain as though we deserve it because someone wants us to be thinner in order to have knee surgery which we need because our knees hurt too much to walk on which, yes, I see how that’s going to work out great; and regularly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed because people won’t use tools to diagnose us and as a result we have poorer outcomes for everything from foot pain to cancer to asthma to torn rotator cuffs. Those outcomes are blamed on our bodies, but in fact when we remove the bias in treatment and diagnosis, a whole lot of the outcomes just… melt away. Shocking. But so we are never at an advantage for medical stuff, and we are often asked to tolerate actual abuse in order to access treatment that thin people with the exact same problem don’t have to deal with.

    So here’s the framing: I got this vaccine because due to the way in which the medical community struggles with treating fat patients, it’s likely that if I got the virus I would not experience excellent care and would be above-average likely to have complications go unmanaged due to bias. Therefore it made sense to go ahead and get the vaccine.

    (or, put another way: this is the first dadgum time my legitimate worthwhile fat body has been a dingdang advantage when it’s mostly a frickafracking minefield of bias that sometimes works out to be straightup medical abuse, and I am TAKING THIS ADVANTAGE FOR ONCE.)

  73. DJ*

    #2 Unless your employer requires the info i.e. you’re one of the considered essential workers needing the vaccine early, there’s no need to disclose that you’ve had the vaccine. I’d say later on as the vaccine is being rolled out more broadly employers will start to need to know so they can confidently organise large face to face gatherings. But then many staff would have had them.

  74. DJ*

    Reading on here how people who have high BMIs less likely to receive medical treatment. High BMI is also a sign of a social problem rather than a purely individual one. In my country BMI’s have been increasing for many years which coincides with longer working hours, break down in community etc. If someone leaves work late afternoon it’s safe to incorporate a walk say to a further train station or bus stop, walk/exercise after work, cook a healthy meal. But work a 12 hour day and finish late at night there’s not time to cook, exercise and it’s simply not safe to walk around deserted areas late at night. Working long hours reduces the likelihood of participating in active community activities. It’s also harder for friends to get together to be active due to irregular fluctuating and long working hours.
    Many takeaway/fast food/restaurants cook very unhealthily and serve huge servings (allowing half serves for 60% of the price would help). Some workplaces don’t provide refridgeration or food heating facilities.
    Also we are not designed to have 24 hour food/takeway shops on tap.

    1. yala*

      BMI is also, honestly, not that indicative of anything at all except size.

      I had my annual health screening yesterday and, based on my BMI and bloodwork, was congratulated on my “healthy lifestyle” and for losing a pound and some inches over the past year. My “healthy lifestyle” is primarily lying on the couch, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, once I’m home from work, and eating…honestly, not particularly well. Loads of carbs. I used to exercise once a week last year, but with COVID I can’t.

      But my BMI read as “healthy.”

      I’m just glad to see it used to HELP people for once, re: getting the vaccine earlier.

      All that said, there’s absolutely no reason anyone needs to tell anyone (especially at work!) how they qualified for the vax. You did, you got it, and good for you!

  75. Keymaster of Gozer*

    Just a short note to say unbelievable thanks to Alison for keeping these kind of posts free from misinformation and covid deniers. You’re really making a difference.

  76. Gina*

    #2 Depending on the state you are in just wait a few weeks. I know in my state eligibility is opening up to everyone 16 and older in two weeks. So you could just wait until then to let everyone know and they wouldn’t question it.

  77. Red 5*

    LW #2 – I just got my second shot, and I was only the second person in my department to get scheduled. To be honest because I have multiple issues I don’t know if I actually qualified because of BMI or another factor (an illness that’s well controlled). But the good news is: nobody cared! There was absolutely no discussion at all about why I qualified, just well wishes and people discussing their own attempts to get scheduled (I live near DC so none of us live in the same municipalities as anyone else).

    So you really, really don’t need to say anything at all about why you qualify! It’s about to open up to almost everybody soon anyway so just make sure you’ve lined up back up in case you need a sick day the day after and go get vaccinated! If anybody gets pushy that’s about them, not you, and you can ignore or deflect to your hearts content. But even in my friend circles I haven’t seen anybody ever openly question why somebody was qualified. Just asking for tips on how to get through the system.

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