Letter to the Editor: Process of Trying to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Is Infuriating


Lewis County is not distributing its share of COVID-19 vaccines to just people in Lewis County.  The initial doses are going to our first responders and health care workers, but now, in phase B1, anyone anywhere in the state who is qualified can seek appointments anywhere in the state. 

I found I had to get online and compete with people from all over the state. Over the past few weeks, I couldn’t get any service providers to put me on a list to contact when they had vaccines available. Instead, they told me to keep checking in. Finally, the pharmacist said they were available.   

I got online, got qualified and sought an appointment at the pharmacy. All were taken. I asked the pharmacist, why? He said people from counties mostly north of us got a large block of them.  When they found their clinics were out, they searched far and wide and nailed down appointments and vaccines intended for Lewis County.   

I checked the governor’s plan. Hundreds of thousands of people were seeking appointments, and there were not enough vaccines. Because no one told me and I didn’t catch the news, I did not know when it was available. The appointments were gone by the time I found out.  

When the next batch of vaccines are available, the same thing will happen. There will be an announcement, and hundreds of thousands of people will rush the online pages, first come first serve. Lewis County will again, no doubt, have lots of their vaccines go in the arms of people not living here.   

The governor plans to add the next tier to the mix after only half of the B1 qualified people have their vaccines. So before all those qualified in the B1 phase have their dose, half will be competing also with hundreds of thousands more added from the next tier.   

No one knows when the announcement of new vaccines will come, so you sit watching all the news, waiting for an announcement so you can get through before all are gone again. I asked for weeks before to be put on a waitlist, but no one will put you on a waitlist or an email list for announcements.    

We are not following one of the most basic protocols every American kindergartner knows: Get in line, wait in line and take your turn. What is wrong with this picture?    

What is so hard about adding a few lines of computer code that could limit people to getting appointments in their own county? That would leave vaccines intended for Lewis County in Lewis County.   

What is so hard about people getting on a list to be called when it’s their turn?  Instead we have this infuriating process that every kindergartner could tell you is just wrong.  Lewis County can’t protect its vaccines for just people in Lewis County.  And I’m looking at probably another few months in quasi-solitary confinement, if not more.  


Neal Kirby