Vaccination Blues

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Vaccination Blues

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My homeland, Orange County, has not been a place to be very proud of during COVID-19. Between anti-maskers, inept leadership, lack of transparency, and inequity in access to both COVID-19 testing and vaccines, this year has been a roller coaster in our little coastal chunk of CA. The vaccine roll out has been a massive headache. For the past month on Instagram, I see post after post of people younger than I who are getting their vaccinations because they live in another part of the state or country, while locally it's only health care workers I know that have been able to be vaccinated. Although other parts of CA (and the country) have begun to vaccinate teachers and food workers, Orange County is stubbornly (as I was told in a meeting today) waiting until 50% of the over 65 population is vaccinated before they open it up to the next tier. Though this causes me endless anxiety - will I be able to get a vaccine before my high school of 2500 opens for in person instruction - the one relief of the week was that my 65 year old mother was FINALLY able to get a vaccination appointment. The Othena system is a joke - she tried numerous times and couldn't get an appointment for the supposed super pods. Kaiser is still only vaccinating 75+! The Nextdoor app clued us in that a local hospital (where my mom has her insurance) was starting to vaccinate. Despite logging on in the very beginning of February, the earliest appointment she could get is for March 3. She took it, but I wanted to keep searching, because I worry that if the next Tier opens, she may have trouble getting a second shot if she waits until March 3. Nextdoor again clued me in to Rite-Aid, where a friend of my mom's outside OC got her vaccine. Best part - you go directly through Rite Aid, so no Othena! Success! My mom made her appointment on Saturday for tomorrow. We were jubilant! I told both my best friends about the Rite Aid trick, and within three days, they had their elderly family members signed up. Today, an hour after my best friend texted me that her dad got his Rite Aid vaccine, my mom sent me her cancellation message. Apparently the current winter storms have delayed the arrival of vaccines. My mom got lucky again, because it turns out that our school district is vaccinating employees 65+. Though retired, because she is a part time employee, my mom received an invitation today. Once she got the Rite Aid cancellation, she made her an appointment with the school district. Tomorrow is the first day the school district is vaccinating, so we have no idea what to expect, and are a little nervous because her insurance is not one of the carriers of the school district. Fingers crossed that she can still get it! Though I am genuinely happy for everyone getting vaccinated, it is frustrating that it is so much work here to try and get one. Using the Othena site hasn't worked for anyone I know - everyone I know has been vaccinated through their work or somewhere like Rite Aid. Honestly, if I see another post of someone with their vaccination card with a "do your part!" message I am going to throw my phone at the wall. I do want to do my part, if only Orange County would get their act together and manage this whole roll out better. Come on Orange County, you can do better.

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Arizona State University

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This item was submitted on February 17, 2021 by Kathryn Jue using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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