What was going to be the most successful wartime effort, has now crashed into a struggle between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” The vaccine distribution was not the magnificent landing at Normandy everyone expected. It has become the The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight with all the widespread logistical problems.
Full disclosure: My state of Arizona is number one in infections (though leveling) and has been horrific in getting shots in most arms. My county (Maricopa) is considered “Extremely High Risk” by the daily New York Times Covid tracker (our nation’s daily read on the growth of this pandemic). Of course, we all thought three days after Biden’s inaugural we would all be headed for our second shot. Silly us!
My 98-year-old mom and my 74-year-old self have been left in the dust in this giant seething rush to get inoculated. In the last ten days, everyone I know all over the nation has gotten their first jab. Immediately I feel like a loser; left out. The same way I felt when I couldn’t find a date for my high school prom while everyone was hooked up and happy.
I am now looked upon as incompetent for not being computer savvy or at least scoring someone’s grandkid who could game the vaccination sites all day and all night to at least get my mom covered. Although we did find a 5 a.m. opening at our stadium an hour away. She passed on it.
There are places like Palm Beach where everyone was double vaxed by early January via “connections.” Either having a medic in the family or giant booking via churches/synagogues/mosques — some people have even gotten on private jets to Maui or tried paying off doctors $10,000 to get them “in the system.” Others got bookings by sheer luck. It has become a life-or-death lottery of insanity. Even in certain towns, elite white people were crashing into black minority distribution centers. Fortunately, those sites have now blocked people who are not residents from receiving the vaccine. Thank God!
So, vaccine appointments have now been added to the list of Covid anxieties. Forget that I have now aged into an older version of Margaret Rutherford and my “trips” are from my bedroom to the kitchen. Now I have to worry that if my mom and I don’t get an appointment soon, we will be gasping for breath in our living room and dead in a week. This is where the mind goes of late.
It’s bad enough that my “vaxed” pals have had their own fears that their appointments would get cancelled last minute, or the batch would be contaminated, or that there wouldn’t be enough for a second shot. Or how about all the strange “no-shows” that have been recently reported for the second injections. Nobody seems to know the “why” of that. Not to mention how long are you really immune, and now the threat of new “variants” (a new word for viral morphs), or that Moderna has more side effects than Pfizer.
Originally, I thought the first month of inoculation was dedicated to the urgent care people, frontline medical, nursing, home care, essential workers, etc. I have seen and heard more people in their 40s and 50s getting it for being a part-time “concierge” at hotels? Is that an essential worker? Or the wife of a film executive with COPD? By the way, our state is still having a hard time getting our policeman and teachers booked. What is wrong with this picture?
And speaking of pictures, is 60-year-old actor Sean Penn posting a picture of himself getting the vaccine a real shot in the arm for the rest of us slobs? Apparently, he has an organization — CORE — who are helping with distribution of the vaccine. Good for him, but really? Why not show anyone but yourself!
Thankfully, 78-year-old Harrison Ford didn’t post his 2-hour wait in line but just sent his best to the healthcare professionals. This is not a meet and greet or a photo op!
And please, enough already of people Instagramming their bare arms and a blue gloved injection with captions of how they “sobbed in gratitude.” Sob when Covid is really gone and EVERYONE has gotten a shot.
Also, to say to those of us still frustrated by no openings, “Oh, be patient, you’ll be part of our gang soon and we can all have a vax party.” STOP! Don’t send me pictures of t-shirts “I got poked by vax 1.” I never thought the vaccine would become a fashion statement, let alone a question of ethics and good taste. As Joe Biden says, “Come on, man!”
And please, no more emails of your post-vax joy with signoffs of “health, peace, safety and wellness.” That is as bad as Trump’s final good-bye blow off of “Have a nice life.” No one cares about your sore arm and slight fatigue for a day.
Let’s stop blaming the bad roll-out on Trump or comparing it to the early disaster of the Obamacare site crashing. It has been amazing that some people are still actually “vaccine touring” — they got the jabs and are now off and running to Cabo and Morocco feeling a new sense of protection in their bodies. That’s not the reality. Even holy Dr. Fauci has warned that nobody is really safe till the end of ’21 or Spring of ’22. Stop the spread is now a lifestyle.
The “unifying” Inaugural day of 2021 now seems like 10 years ago as we flounder and compete to get this done. And frankly, only Biden’s dogs Major and Champ are coming our looking happy and healthy. Here’s the truth: the vaccine has become a beg, borrow, or steal situation — no matter where you are politically.
In the meantime, mom and I have given up on fighting for our lives scoring online appointments. Maybe we should just let the “madding crowd” or herd take over. They can live long and prosper. We will remain in “pause,” beefing up our immune system with tons of supplements, gummies, walking and breathing exercises. Whatever happened to “Keep Calm & Carry On”?
As Dr. Art Caplan — director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYC School of Medicine — said when he heard about the vaccine scamming by certain “privileged” patients: “We’ve got 91-year-old’s waiting, healthcare workers still waiting. People who are wealthy can easily find ways to quarantine, mask and stay isolated for another month or two and more vaccines will become available.”
By the way, in the end I never found a date for any of my high school proms — and I am still alive!