It took me days and luck, as well as technological savvy to get my parents' appointments.
I was in the middle of a webinar when my iPhone watch alerted me that Kinney Drug Company had vaccines available and I needed to go online to set up an appointment. Not for me. For my parents who are both in their early 80s. My mom has a lung condition and my dad has heart issues. They are both candidates for getting really sick from the virus. But it was only a few months ago that they both had to give up their flip phones for a smart phone and my dad still doesn't know how to use it. I can't imagine them trying to navigate setting up a vaccine.
Not only did I have a text alert I also had an email alert. So I opened up the scheduler on my smart phone, in both Chrome and Firefox on my laptop, all while trying to listen to the webinar. I kept getting a message telling me it was a Bad Gateway or something like that.
When I told my mom that New York was opening up the vaccinations to people over the age of 75 she told me not to worry, she was sure the facility they live in would have the vaccines available to the residents "real soon". Yeah, right. Kinney Drugs ran out of their first supply in five hours. And I live in Upstate NY.
My parents are lucky. They live in a nice community in the suburbs; have three of their five children living nearby, and are still able to get around to buy groceries and, before Covid, go out to eat. They are well educated, read everyday, know what's going on in the news. But they would never have been able to make an appointment on their own to get a vaccine. They are not that technologically adept. And I'm not singling out Kinney Drug company because they at least alerted me. I have been on two county health department websites and Wegmans website several times a day looking for openings. Nothing. Nada. When Kinney reached out I was like halleluja!
It saddens me to think that there are a lot of elderly people who do not have the support system my parents have and will not be able to get the vaccine in a timely manner. Or consider those who have no access to internet at home, or the bandwidth, or computer capability to get into the system, when will they get the vaccine? Who's assisting them?
When I told my mother she and dad were all set, I had made their appointment, I could sense her relief. She's been watching the news. She sees the lines. I imagine she like everyone is feeling the anxiety about supply and demand. I consider our family lucky.
Sheila Myers is an award winning author and Professor at a small college in Upstate NY. She enjoys writing, swimming in lakes, and walking in nature. Not always in that order.