Of all the things in my life that have tested my faith in humanity and our government the COVID vaccine rollout might be the thing that breaks me. Never in my many years on earth have I experienced anything so unbelievably messed up. It’s like a cauldron of chaos and confusion being stirred by a giant spoon of ineptness.
I came close last week to having a complete mental collapse when a 21-year-old dog groomer told me that she had gotten her vaccine because she “works in healthcare.” Just a massive WTH on that?
Meanwhile my friends and neighbors who are 65 and older, our most vulnerable population that nationwide account for 80 percent of the COVID deaths, are still trying to figure out how to go from filling out the county health department’s “vaccine interest form” to actually getting the vaccine.
If you want to experience the trifecta of profound angst, anger and anxiety all you need to do is read the comments on most county health department’s Facebook pages concerning vaccine updates. It’s Dostoevskian.
People are scared, bewildered, and frustrated. A lot of the posts are from adult children desperately trying to track down vaccines for their aging parents who don’t have the computer skills to navigate the “Where’s Waldo” aspect of getting their first COVID shot.
It seems it doesn’t matter where you live because I’ve experienced the exact same situation in my hometown helping neighbors get vaccine appointments and while attempting to get a vaccine for my 87-year-mother-in-law in Texas. I honestly think it would have been easier to hijack a Moderna or Pfizer cooler.
For the mother-in-law the online sign up process was like a high tech Hunger Games. If you didn’t know exactly when the sign up was going live you were screwed because there weren’t a lot of spots available. A friend of mine from high school started a group text where people shared any tidbit of information they had discovered about how to get your parents a vaccine in Central Texas.
I felt like an immunization detective following leads about the V.A. hospital having some open spots to a small-town drugstore 20 miles away with a “few vials left.” It took two weeks, hours filling out various vaccine forms and calling multiple providers to finally get my mother-in-law a COVID vaccine.
I’m certain there is almost no way anyone her age could have navigated the internet and spent hours on the phone being pinged ponged (and several times disconnected) from the county health department to doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies. It was time consuming and maddening.
It doesn’t help that as you’re trying to get a vaccine for an 87-year-old you have people proudly sharing how they worked the system. One friend (I’m now classifying as former) bragged about how her neighbor who runs a childcare center is going to say she works there so she can get the COVID vaccine. Then there’s several women I know who have signed up to be substitute teachers at a private school so they can “get in on phase 2.”
What has happened to basic decency when you lie and scheme so you can line jump over the elderly?
The coronavirus has brought out the best and worst in all of us. These last 11 months I think I’ve said “What is wrong with people?” almost everyday. From COVID deniers to masks worn under the nose as an act of rebellion to all the other flagrant stupidity I’m about ready to lose it.
I can see the light at the end of this COVID nightmare so I’ve been telling myself to hold on because things are going to get better. But now I worry that while there’s a coronavirus vaccine there isn’t one for self-centeredness. So, while we may soon have a mask free future we’ll still be plagued with rampant selfishness.