“Congratulations! You’re No. 792,103 in the Vaccine Lottery!”
By Merrill Lynn Hansen
I have never been suspicious that Covid-19 vaccines are a cover for a plan by Bill Gates to plant trackable microchips. As soon as I heard Dr. Fauci talk about the promising Covid vaccines, I knew I was going to make an appointment when the vaccine became available in Michigan. I want to be protected from the virus, and from the idiots who think it's a hoax. I know it’s real; I had Covid in March and April, and I could certainly get it again.
Unfortunately, I am starting to think I might be the last person in Michigan who will be given the vaccine, due to the failure of Donald Trump (the guy who just lost a fair and democratic election to Joe Biden) to come up with a national plan for the distribution of vaccines to the states. He has always turned a deaf ear to requests by our Governor, Gretchen ("That Woman from Michigan") Whitmer for a way to fight this deadly virus.
I am disturbed about this, because I thought one of the benefits of my being a senior (age 69). is that I would be eligible to be vaccinated after healthcare providers, essential workers, and residents of nursing homes were vaccinated. Since I no longer go to restaurants or the movies because of Covid, I don't get the benefit of senior discounts, so I was thinking of the vaccination as a senior perk. But making an appointment to be vaccinated has been more difficult than I anticipated it would be.
I was able to register to make an appointment with a large drugstore chain. However, upon completion of the registration form, I received a message confirming their receipt of my information, but advising me that they are not scheduling any appointments. They promised to send me a text message when they are. I have since learned that might not be for several months, because they don't have the vaccine at any of their locations. Now that they have my address, the least they could do is send me discount coupons for other items until they get the vaccine. (“Buy one Tylenol Arthritis, get one free.”)
My friend Lynne gave me the phone number of a hospital that was scheduling appointments. She told me that she called the phone number, held on the line for two hours, and was able to schedule an appointment for herself and her husband to be vaccinated on the following day. She advised me that under no circumstances should I hang up if I were put on hold. I immediately phoned the number she gave me, and I was greeted with a recorded message that said no appointments were available, and callers should not leave messages. I continued to call for three days, and was prepared to be put on hold for at least two hours, but I kept getting the same damn recording.
Another friend, Maxine, sent me a link to a website that had the locations of hospitals to register with online, which would then contact me to make an appointment. Each time I tried to register, though, I was booted off the registration website, and informed by email that said the information I was giving was incorrect. I have no idea why I kept getting that message, since the only information I'd given was my legal name, my age, my zip code and the fact that I have never had an allergic reaction to a vaccine. It is distressing to have a computer tell you that it doesn't believe that you are who you are, or that you don't live where you live.
It may be possible that my mother told her mahjong group in 1956 that I had a bad reaction to my measles vaccination ("Marilynn had the worst reaction the doctors have ever seen."), but there is nothing I’m aware of in my medical records that would dispute what I typed during the registration process. Eventually, I was able to complete the registration form, only to find that the hospitals to which I was referred were not making appointments. I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m being blacklisted, because someone, somewhere, has read all of my nasty Facebook posts about Donald Trump.
A few friends have told me that they've received notifications from their healthcare providers, advising them that they will be contacted when appointments are available. But to my consternation, I have not received an email or letter from my healthcare providers notifying me that they will contact me some day in the future, to tell me when they are going to send me an email or letter, advising me that they are planning to schedule appointments eventually.
I have signed up to receive several COVID-19 "updates" in the tri-county area. Every update is at least four pages long and has an "Answers to Commonly Asked Questions" section. Apparently, "When can I schedule an appointment?" is not a commonly asked question, because I can't find a definitive answer anywhere.
While it is reassuring to know that I am in the approved category to receive a vaccine, I'm starting to feel the way I felt when I realized that I had not actually won Publishers Clearing House's grand prize of
$5 000 per week for the rest of my life, but was one of millions of people who could be chosen to win.
I've noticed that some of my Facebook friends have posted about having received their first shots of the vaccine in the past week, and I've graciously congratulated them, rather than asking how the hell they were able to get an appointment. But there are definitely some people whom I will "unfriend" if they get an appointment before I do.
What I find most frustrating, though, is that I now immediately have to answer every single phone call I receive from a phone number I don't recognize, in case someone is responding to my "Save Your Place In Line" registrations. If I miss my chance to schedule an appointment when they call, I'm afraid I'll get sent to the end of the line.
In the meantime, I'm going to slug every person who gets within six feet of me and isn't wearing a mask.
Merrill Lynn Hansen is a legal assistant, living in West Bloomfield, Michigan. She describes herself as a frustrated writer, who wishes she could be Nora Ephron (when she was alive), if only for a day. She is a news-, political- and FB-junkie, a combination that requires a constant reminder that she needs to take deep cleansing breaths when responding to people who don't agree with her.