Friday, January 15, 2021

Chasing the Vaccine

On Sunday morning I decided to try the city site for the COVID vaccine. I'd heard that we would be eligible beginning Monday and that we could book early. It sounded like a great opportunity. I kept getting bounced off the site, over and over. I wasn't sure why that kept happening, but I was pretty persistent. It was quite annoying that even though you set up a profile, the site only recorded part of your information.

Every single time I got on, I had to copy the long number off of my GHI card. It also demanded a photo or scan of the card, and it was really irritating having to upload it every single time I hit the site. Usually I got bounced out before I hit an appointment. Sometimes the site told me I wasn't qualified for the vaccine. Those times I have to log back on and slog through the whole thing again.

A few times I got lucky, or at least I thought I did, In fact, on Sunday, I was able to score an appointment at 5:40 PM, that day, at Hillcrest High School. I was ready to go, even if it meant canceling my rumba lesson. However, when I pressed "next," it gave me some kind of warning. Are you sure you want to leave this site? Well, I figured I had to if I wanted to finalize this appointment, I had no choice. But oh my gosh, it sent me right back to the first screen. 

I then tried a few more times, but that appointment was gone. I never got all the way to the appointment again. Eventually I got tired of all the forms and gave up. There are only so many times you can fill out the same forms and answer the same questions without taking a break. Meanwhile, a friend texted me that he got an appointment for Wednesday. How did you do it, I asked. He wasn't sure, but I congratulated him. 

The next day, I tried again. I decided what the hell, I have nothing to lose but a little time, and perhaps my mind. I went through a few more rounds, and managed to score an appointment for John Adams High School sometime this week. Again, I got the dreaded next button, and when I pressed it, it kicked me right out again. A little later I tried again, and everything was booked up for weeks and months.,

UFT sent an email saying they would help hook us up, so I signed up for that. I had nothing to lose. However, I do have an accommodation this year, so that made me last priority. Still, with around 20,000 applicants, and Mulgrew saying they got 6,000 done early this week, it seemed worth a shot.

Nonetheless, I decided to branch out. I looked for sites in Nassau County, and found several. They were all booked up, though, for months it seemed. For some sites, it said call this number, and when I did it sent me back to the website from which I started. 

Somewhere, I found the number for Advantage Care, the place where GHI members can go with no copay. I called, and the message said there were no more appointments for Tuesday or Wednesday. I decided to go to their website, which you can find right here. I decided to register for an account, I went to book an appointment, said it was for the vaccine, asked me if I was UFT, and they offered me one for last night at 5:30 PM. I was amazed. It was a miracle! (A friend tells me they're now out of spots, but it's worth a try.)

Last night, I traveled to Cambria Heights, maybe ten miles from where I live, and I have to say all the folks at Advantage Care were helpful and professional. They made me fill out a bunch of forms, but I only had to do it once. I also had to wait a while, but eventually they got to me, and now I'm vaccinated. You have to wait for 15 minutes afterward to see if you have side effects. (The only one I have today is a sore arm, but that's par for the course with vaccines.)

Everyone I know who's gotten the vaccine, myself included, has gotten the Moderna version. I understand the Pfizer vaccine has to be so cold it needs special refrigeration. Most facilites haven't got that, and they haven't got Arnold Schwarzennegger's Mr. Freeze suit, so that's how it goes. 

I just called UFT again to say they didn't need to hold my place in the vaccine queue. I really hope Biden makes good on his promises to ramp up production via emergency measures. All I can tell you is a mass COVID vaccine makes a whole lot more sense than some frigging wall. All the drugs are coming in by truck anyway. I wouldn't even mention that except none of said drugs include COVID vaccines. 

I was lucky. I very much hope you are too.

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