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Vaccination vexation

As I understand it, each state orders and distributes its own supply of Covid-19 vaccine, and the US government may or may not be able to supply all that a state requests. Additionally, there are currently two different vaccines available, and they have different storage requirements.

That, folks, is a perfect recipe for chaos and confusion. Is it any wonder that fewer than 2 million people had been vaccinated by the end of 2020, instead of the 20 million Trump promised? (A government spokesman said recently that it wasn’t a promise to vaccinate 20 million people; it was a promise to distribute 20 million doses, and that promise was kept. Yeah. Right.)

I don’t know what other states are doing; it’s all I can do to keep up with what Colorado is doing. The chart above was issued December 30 and reflects a change the governor ordered unexpectedly last week: He moved those age 70 and older from Group 2 up to Group 1B and declared Group 1B now open for vaccination.

That confusion was suddenly inflicted on providers (whoever and wherever they are) who were still trying to finish with everyone in Group 1A. Suddenly and unexpectedly the governor announced that Group 1B is open and that it now includes almost 400,000 more people than it did a week ago. (Any more of this and priorities will be out the window. Everyone will be in the same big group.) Imagine the phone calls that have suddenly deluged the providers, the health department, the hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. Quick now, everybody. Which group are you in? When will you get your vaccination (you do want one, don’t you?)? Where do you get it? Do you need to make an appointment and if so, how? Or do you just show up? Or will someone notify you?

I’ve known for some time that at age 77, I was in Group 2. Until suddenly I wasn’t. I really can’t complain about being moved up in line, considering an earlier plan once had me in line behind incarcerated individuals and students living in dorms. I could see the logic in that, sort of, but emotionally it rankled. I’ve been quite literally sitting at home since March, convinced that if I get Covid, I’ll likely become one of those dying alone in an ICU with family unable to visit, family I’ve already been separated from for 10 months.

But in the middle of all that confusion, the sun came out. I got a notification from UCHealth (University of Colorado, where I’m still a patient) that although they were still vaccinating Group 1A, they had some extra doses that would be distributed to a small group of patients via lottery. And damned if I didn’t get an email Sunday saying I should contact them and make an appointment (two, actually) to get my vaccination! I was singing out loud to my dog as I headed down the hall for my shower. (I was going to say skipped down the hall, but these days I only do that in my head.)

So next Saturday I head up to Longmont (the closest option) for my shot. And again 4 weeks later (for the Moderna vaccine, apparently).

I think I’ll pick up a big box of donuts for the providers on my way up.

 

15 Comments »

  1. YAY!!! Glad to hear you’re getting it so soon.

    Here in Nevada, we’ve had some reclassification too with my wife moving up a tier but it still looks like a couple of months before we get the invite.

    • That’s what I was doing. But then UCHealth let me know that they would be doing vaccinations and would notify me when to make an appointment. Knowing what to expect helped a lot.

  2. Feeding frenzy between the worried public and the media.
    Here, they have finished the essential workers, CVS has there contract to send med. staff into all the nursing homes and city/county are doing the over 75 (and health conditions) for 65 and older. There are multiple drive up/big centers up and running ( and crowded…people sleeping in cars over night) doing about 1,000 a day. It’s nuts – how many people will get sick trying to get the vaccine. Some school districts have already covered their staff and teachers.
    Next week multiple pharmacy chains will get vaccine locations.
    Best advice is to use actual doctors’ offices/hospitals/med centers like UCHealth due to the unstable vaccine’s requirements…there have already been doses lost here by sloppiness
    Word is docs are calling their long established patients first for what ages being served. Sr staff got his notice a couple of days ago.
    It’s an ambitious roll out. The fact is that they can just make the stuff so fast, so some will wait.
    I’d be happy to wait for the Oxford vaccine if given a choice.
    Meanwhile wash hands, social distance and wear the mask to protect yourself – even after the first shot…people are still coming down with it even with vaccine.
    Our numbers are up, but not like CO.
    Take care and cheers for light at the end of the tunnel

    • I’m under no illusions about the continuing need for masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc. I’ve even ordered a pretty new mask for the new year and expect to be masked well into summer. I commend Biden’s plan for everybody masking up for 100 days — but I think it’s futile. Those who haven’t been wearing masks or socially distancing are not going to suddenly change their ways. I saw video today of seniors in cars ln Florida, lined up for miles (and overnight) to get their shots and again thanked my lucky stars. I don’t think I could do that, and the thought of having to do so makes me ill. Here, everybody is home, on the phone, trying to find out what to do and where to go.

      My first thought had been to check with my primary care provider, but I couldn’t get through the voicemail. I finally found an obscure note on their website saying they would not be a vaccine provider. Who knows if that was or is accurate if no one will answer the phone?

      I just saw a story on local news saying fire stations are not doing vaccinations. And that’s flat out wrong. On NextDoor, our county fire dept. announced they were taking apps and making appointments for Group 1A vaccinations. Having just been moved up a group, I mistakenly jumped in and signed up for a slot just two miles from here. Then I realized my move had been up to 1B, not 1A and I had to figure out how to cancel everything. Huge disappointment. Then came the good news two days later.

      So much confusion here among the over 70s. All the news outlets are reporting it, while none are reporting reliable answers to all the questions. But at least somebody is getting the vaccine, and eventually everyone who wants it will get it. I just hope that will be enough people to confer herd immunity. I’m worried that it won’t be.

      • It’s a mess. The instability of the vaccines is a real concern if people are not trained and serious.
        Our Primary care notified us a couple of days before vaccine shipped to not call – they will call us (and the long term patients first). One of us got called. This area seems to be getting a good deal of vaccine – maybe because of all the trials here (“It’s such a diverse area of ages, socio-eco, ethnicity, that you were specially chosen….”)
        You are right about futile. Just take care of yourself and stay away from people – even after the vaccine….still doesn’t have a track record and some who got the first shot in Dec 19 are coming down sick now.
        The entire media “journalists” group lost their way and are lost in their frenzy for ratings ( and favors).
        Just staying in away from crowds and possible sick people. Not sure anyone knows what is going on or what they are doing. (and confirmed by kid doc, and 2 infectious disease specialist friends of her…spreading out the doses or giving “diluted” smaller doses under the guise of covering more younger/more coverage of all people – that is NOT science – the trials are very specific about dosage and time frame…)
        Really really frustrated. So is everyone. No wonder people are angry and beginning to contradict mandates and authorities.
        Biden has good intentions, but no one person can set this straight. Looks like we’re back to fend for yourself in so many areas. Totally loss of confidence of so many. We never expected to have to deal with these unstable illogical situations in retirement. Sigh.
        (Rainy and stormy weather here- hope it’s better there!)

        • I will lose faith in the medical community if they start diluting the vaccine or do anything other than strictly follow the manufacturers’ instructions. I read somewhere that the options are being discussed but it will be early summer before any decisions on that are made.

        • Uh, saw it on the national main stream news as possibility last night….One doc from Florida university med center was spouting it as possibility…it’s been rumored on doc message boards/social media for several days. The big med center docs on tv here oppose the idea – saying
          “No. Not a idea to be considered…”
          The pharm co refuse to comment about the suggestion…
          Sooo we’ll see.
          Stay away from people. Eat well, and get some sun if you can. We’re our only hope.

  3. johnthecook…and yet there people who still want to blame President Trump for this continuing chaos concerning COVID-19. President -Elect Joe Biden said help is on the way, but the way I see it , it will be NO BETTER than what it is now. The solution is clearly in the “medical community’s ” lap. Their bottom line is like a termite in a yo-yo!

    • Oh I definitely blame Trump. We should have had strong, decisive leadership from the White House with concise instructions for a national distribution and innoculation plan. There was a pandemic response “playbook” and team in place from the Obama administration, but it was essentially disbanded by Trump in 2018. The medical community is and has been performing heroically since the pandemic began.

  4. I’m happy for you, PT. Down here in the SW corner of MO, only the healthcare and rest home people are being vaccinated so far. Group 1B, our group, are still in information limbo. All this confusion could have been avoided if the Trump administration had taken the lead on getting the vaccine from shelves to arms, including funding. Most states were unprepared in their budgets because of the leadership void.

    • You might say I paid for my place in line. I wouldn’t be a UCHealth patient if I hadn’t had cancer in 2015. But yes, as I noted in my comment to johnthecook, much of the chaos is due to a complete lack of leadership at the federal level. The entire response could have been and should have been as slick as a well-planned military operation. There are times and places for such federal action and I think this is one of them.

  5. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. In my opinion, the vaccine needed to be overseen at the Federal level, with the organization and distribution done at the state level — but with someone overseeing the entire debacle. Additionally, it needed to be overseen by someone who knows what they’re doing – someone experienced. trump didn’t even try at the federal level. He just brushed it off to all the states to take care of. Most of the states had/have no clue how to oversee a mass distribution of a vaccine. We have no precedence. I just hope Biden is able to pull this all together when he comes in.

    Personally, I’ve worked from home since 2012. I’m a bit of a recluse. So I’m low-woman-on-the-totem-pole for vaccines. And I’m fine with that. There are so many people that need it before me. I do need to make an appointment with my doctor for other reasons so we’ll see if it’s available there. If not, that’s fine. I’ll wait.

    • I need to make an appointment for my semi-annual check-up in April and can’t even get through to talk to someone. I pity the people having to answer the phones at medical offices right now. I can wait, however. No need for me to add to their chaos right now. I will continue to be a cave dweller until this thing is over.

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