The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in several acute shortages of healthcare provision and thereby posed a challenge to solidarity among citizens of welfare states. One example was the limited number of vaccine batches at the outset of European COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. This resulted in a rare constellation in which citizens faced both a unifying collective threat but also a scarcity of healthcare resources that necessitated the prioritization of certain groups for an early vaccination. On that premise, we conducted a survey experiment during the first week of the Danish vaccination programme. Our results demonstrate that citizens judged who deserves early access to preventive healthcare along established lines of welfare chauvinism. Fictitious diabetes patients with a Muslim name and those who recently immigrated were regarded as less deserving of an early vaccination. That said, concerns over responsibility for one’s hardship and anti-social free-rider behaviour drive citizens considerations, too. Contra our hypotheses, we find only weak evidence that immigrants or Muslims are penalized more harshly for an irresponsible lifestyle or free-rider behaviour. Compared with previous research, we study a unique moment in history and are the first to disentangle minority status from stereotypes about their anti-social free-riding behaviour and irresponsibly unhealthy lifestyles.