Our Covid Shot Experience

This Story Would make a Great Sitcom!

Ronald Reagan once said the nine scariest words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

Kathy and I logged in to Myvaccine.fl.gov and attempted to set up dual appointments for the appropriate Tampa location we desired. After repeatedly being thwarted by the site, we took a break. We had a specific vaccination location we wanted that is convenient to us. That site appeared on the initial sign-in. When it became time to select it after filling out the lengthy application, it didn’t appear. One site appeared an hour away from home, there were no other choices.

After filling in the answers to a dozen or more inane questions, I finally got a bar code and tentative approval. Kathy got a bar code, that’s it. No approval, no reason given.

It Took a Second Try to Get The Appointments

Later, I tried a second time on a different site. So you know, there is more than one appointment website. I went to patientportal.fl.com. I got an appointment and a QR code this time. Even printed it out. It gave me the option to book a second appointment for Kathy. That didn’t go so well. Same litany of questions, but no QR code. It said she was accepted, though. Big deal, there was no proof.

We were unsure if both of us got booked. I got an email confirming my appointment. I also received a text message. Kathy got crickets. A day or two later we started getting phone calls. We didn’t know which attempt prompted the call. Kathy finally talked to a woman who assured her she could gain entry, even though her screen didn’t show Kathy’s name on it, she was on some approval list or she wouldn’t have gotten a call. The woman assured her she could go, anyway. That failed to encourage Kathy in the least.

The following day, Kathy called the number from the text message she had received. Once again, a second woman reassured her they would admit her. I tried to reassure her. That didn’t go well.

And You Will Follow Instructions!

Let me backfill a minute here. When I filled out the application, it included many instructions. We were both to bring several documents, including a state issued ID, two proofs of residency, like a power bill, a complete list of meds each of us take and, of course, the page with the QR code Kathy didn’t have. They also advised us to be only 15 minutes early and expect to stay a half hour after, in case of adverse reactions. The last really helped with Kathy’s stress! The reason we were doing this was because of her. I was going to support her. I could give two hoots about getting it, and here’s why.

If there really was a huge pandemic like they are saying, I wouldn’t need TV talking heads telling me night after night that we faced a huge pandemic. I would witness it firsthand, and I am not. If they need to reinforce it in me it’s real, then It is not. Remember, we’re talking about a supposed worldwide scourge with a survival rate of 98.6%, huh?. Since the above observation is so, and I feel it’s important to support my wife, I went along with it for her. She’s important to me. Her feelings are important to me. A negligible difference in opinion isn’t enough for me to not support her. And so we went.

Off We Go To The Site

Interesting to note, the morning of the appointment, Kathy got a confirmation text with a link. The link led to the QR code page like mine. It did little to allay her anxiety. At least we now had a matched set.

We went to Raymond James Stadium, to a parking lot across the street from the stadium. We negotiated a forest of orange cones to get in. Thousands of traffic cones were everywhere we looked. I couldn’t go faster than 15mph for fear of losing track of the cone path. They built a maze of cones that was planned by a person with a mental problem. It wasn’t a straight shot either, it meandered like a cow path, hither and yon.

Our serpentine journey finally led us to a National Guardsman. I tried to hand him all our docs. He declined, saying others would take them further along the yellow brick road. He was just there to draw on our window with a marker and give us reassurance. The writing he scrawled was some kind of code known only to them. He put a big zero on the windshield. Finally, we ended up in front of a multi-car shelter. By this time, they had somehow separated the arriving cars into multiple isles. There were quite a few staff people scurrying about from car to car with tablet computers.I quickly noted that these healthcare workers were wearing masks and face shields. If they were in healthcare, wouldn’t they have already gotten their vaccinations? I would think so. Then why? It made no sense to me.

Finally, We Got To Talk To Someone

A woman came, took my paper with the QR code and completed the questionnaire. She asked all the questions again. Never did she ask us for our state issued ID nor our proof of residency nor our list of medications they admonished us to include when talking to the appointment confirmer over the phone. She didn’t want or need them.

We continued along the maze to the actual inoculation point. We met an amiable gentleman who was to give us our shots. Here he was in a mask and plastic face shield. I asked him if he had his vaccination, seeing that he was a healthcare worker. He nodded and confirmed he had indeed had his shots. I gave him a quizzical look. Then why the mask and shield, for goodness’ sake? He chuckled and said, because they make us. He gave us the shots, set up our two appointments for our 21 day follow up shots for 6:15 pm and sent us to the waiting area where we were to wait for 30 minutes to see what would happen to us.

The Rest Is Almost Anticlimactic

The lady there was chatty, and we had a friendly visit. She looked at her watch and to us to go home after 10 minutes. We navigated another Pacman course to get to the road.

Finally, we returned to the saner world we had left just an hour before. The result of logging onto different websites to register, meeting processing people checking us in on tablet computers was, we got our two followup appointments given to us on two little bits of paper.

PS When we got home, we found a follow up email confirming the second appointments, the only problem was, the appointment times differed from what was on our bits of paper.

gerald jacobs

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *