Don’t vaccinate them – they’ve had their day.

Prue Leith, celebrity cook,  says that older people should be the last to receive the vaccine – because younger people have more years ahead of them. A case of ‘never mind the quality, see the length’ wisdom.  (To be fair, she’s noted for her recipes, not for her wisdom and philosophical depth.)

 The elderly are the most vulnerable, so this would be throwing them to the wolves.  Never mind, she is saying, they’ve had their day.  Ageism rules here, clearly.  She also misses an important point that the Government has made time and time again.  The sheer numbers of those vulnerable elderly falling victim to the virus would overwhelm our hospitals, and younger people would miss life-saving operations and treatment.
This is the nasty, ageist outlook predicted by Dr Rob Butler, when he coined the term ‘ageism’ in 1969.  He said it would occur when resources are stretched.
It’s immature, self-centred, and quite frankly, stupid.  It tells older people that they are worthless.  If ‘ageism’ were against the law, she could be sued.  If she said this about any other group, say an ethnic group, there would be an uproar.
God says that all the days of our lives are written in His book before there’s even one of them. (Psalm 139) He decides. He’s the fount of wisdom.  He says that we are to honour the elderly; to rise in their presence. (Leviticus 19:31).
At the height of the first wave in this pandemic, people were writing on social media how their values had changed.  ‘I’m not interested in celebrities any more,’ posted one, ‘don’t talk to me about them.  I want to hear about doctors, nurses, carers and all the volunteers.’
When this pandemic is over, let’s pray that the ‘new normal’ includes these values – those based on God’s reality, not shallow views like this celebrity cook’s.

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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