The line for the vaccine stretched around the center and down the road. Photo by Kaden Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — They started lining up on New Year’s Eve. Despite their advanced age, heavy rains, then winds and fog that would not let up till the sun came back out on Saturday; people lined up:  sleeping in tents, many brought chairs and others came in wheelchairs struggling,

Essential Worker Zee, holds the last ticket issued to get the first of two vaccine shots to fight COVID-19.
Photo by Vivian Shipe

helped over traffic medians by people who stepped out of line to help them get in line. The collaborative goal: to get the vaccine that hopefully would save their lives and keep them from joining the over 310,000 Americans already dead from covid-19. Just like the movie Willy Wonka, the pass to get in was a first come first served ticket.

They got a ticket if they were over 75 or if they were health care or essential workers. One elderly man, exiting the building at 10:30 am said he had been there since 6 am. At the end of the line, which stretched from the front of the Expo Center, around the massive building, and down to Merchants road, stood Zee, a young white essential health care worker holding the last coveted ticket: 0500.

Absent from the line: Black faces; those who are most adversely affected by COVID-19.