Like many folks who fall into the age categories that are open to receiving the COVID vaccine, I have been trying to get an available appointment. Crashed systems, unavailability, lack of a simple implementation have all added up to a frustrating time for many of us.
Here in Florida, right now you have to be 65 and older to qualify, and yes I’m in that age bracket. Since the vaccines became available, there have been outcries about poor planning; website crashing, being disconnected on the phone after waiting for hours. Appointments filled up fast. Only the other day on the news I heard that in one county here in Florida they had 1,000 vaccines available and all were gone in three minutes.
Where are the vaccines people cry out? The state blames the feds, and the feds blame the states.
Here in Florida, selected Publix Supermarkets are now giving out the vaccine. This past Saturday morning the website opened, enabling folks to register for an appointment beginning at 6 AM. My wife and I were up and on our computer. After a 40 minute wait, my wife managed to schedule an appointment. After she was all set up, they asked if another household member wanted to register and I got an appointment. She was scheduled for Sunday, the next day, and I had my appointment for Tuesday.
We were ecstatic and grateful.
Both appointments went smoothly. They were quick, efficient, and we were in and out in 35 minutes, including the 15 minutes after you receive your shot.
There are many snags with the rollout of the vaccine. One of the key problems is the confusion because of a lack of a federal mandate on how to distribute the vaccine. Everyone knew the vaccines were coming. There was plenty of time for the federal government, the state, and counties to be better prepared.
Here in Florida, each county is doing their own thing from having to register by computer and/or telephone. County websites are all different, requirements are inconsistent including a few counties that are not doing by appointment only, but are on a first-come, first-serve basis until we run out. This situation has resulted in having a senior population standing in long lines or parked in long lines overnight, hoping to get a vaccine. Sadly, there won’t be enough for all and at some point, they will run out of doses and there will be folks who waited in line for eight hours or more and will go home still searching for vaccine relief.
It’s a frustrating experience, hours are spent online or on the phone attempting to get an appointment only to receive a message that there are no more appointments available at this time or are disconnected. That said, please don’t give up. Keep pushing on and on and there will be that one time when you will scream out YES!
Stay safe !and keep on pushing!