Documents obtained by Judicial Watch reveal that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) used the language of Critical Race Theory in its plan for vaccine allocation, citing “social injustices” to justify prioritizing people based on the color of their skin.
The VA documents revealed how the department views vaccine distribution, explaining how “fairness does not require treating everyone exactly alike.” The department used an elderly resident living in a Community Living Center (CLC) as an hypothetical example, explaining that he or she should get the vaccine before a young, healthy person.
“This does not mean that the elderly individual is considered more valuable, rather, he or she has greater need to be protected from the virus,” the VA wrote, asking to look at “fairness” in the context of giving people opportunity “based on need,” despite the fact that everyone is “equally valued.”
So far, so good. Those most at risk should be first in line.
However, the following section, titled “Addressing health inequities,” shows the VA is prioritizing people based on the color of their skin as well: “National U.S. data show that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected persons of color,” the document reads, attributing the claim to “social injustices that create a higher disease burden and shorter lifespan in this population.”
The VA explained that a “lifetime social disadvantages experienced by persons of color make them more likely to have health problems that predispose them to contract SARS-CoV-2 and more often suffer serious or fatal outcomes.
“Thus, these individuals, along with others who are at risk for suffering serious or fatal illness due to the presence of comorbidities, will be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine per the allocation plan as a consequence of risk factors,” the department determined.
In addition, the VA cites a “widespread consensus” that “more must be done to rectify health disparities upstream through improved access to quality education, preventive health care, economic and job opportunities, safe housing and healthy food, reduced exposure to crime and violence, and public safety.”
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said these documents show “that politics and a pernicious Critical Race Theory approach infects VA decision-making on the allocation of health resources to veterans.”