Vaccine line jumping

Vaccine line jumping is the act of obtaining a vaccine in which the supply fails to meet the demands of the population ahead of those for whom it has been prioritized, usually via fraudulent means, the exploitation of one's social status, or some other unethical manner. Vaccine line jumping is distinct from vaccine chasing, in which one goes out of their way to seek a scarcely available vaccine to which they are legally entitled.[1]

In some situations, an honor system is used in which the recipient declares, either verbally or in writing, if they are in a priority group, but no proof is asked. Other places require that one who is in a priority group provide documentation of belonging to such a group. For example, if prioritization is by age, a driver's license or other governmental identification can be used to verify age. If by occupation, a work ID can be used, and if a medical condition is a criterium, it could be a physician certificate.[citation needed]


Vaccine line jumpers sometimes exaggerate a factor that could include them in a priority group, such as a category of employment or medical condition.[2] For example, a medical administrative worker who has no contact with patients might consider themselves a "healthcare worker", or one who has had a bout of pneumonia might classify themselves as having had "lung disease", even as their condition is not chronic.[citation needed]

Sometimes, a glitch in the registration system can enable those who do not belong to a priority group to register and obtain a shot.[3]

Some people can obtain shots ahead of what is considered to be their turn because of their wealth or connections.[4]


  1. ^ Young, Katharine (11 March 2021). "Skipping the Vaccine Line Is Not Only Unethical – It May Undermine Trust in the Rollout". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 11 March 2021.
  2. ^ Tan, Lili (15 March 2021). "'Hunger Games of Vaccines': People Jump the Line to Get Vaccine Prior to Eligibility". National Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on 16 March 2021.
  3. ^ O'Neill, Eilis (9 February 2021). "How People Are Jumping the COVID-19 Vaccine Line". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 15 March 2021.
  4. ^ Rosenthal, Elisabeth (2 February 2021). "With Demand Far Exceeding Supply, It Matters That People Are Jumping the Vaccine Line". Kaiser Family Foundation. Archived from the original on 2 February 2021.