As I sit here this morning, I can’t believe that we’ve arrived at the first day of February. It is kind of amazing how fast the time seems to be moving along. The next thing you know, the parade of car carriers will be cresting the top of the bridge to pick up the vehicles they dropped off only a couple of months ago. They will load the vehicles of our friends for their trips back north, and we’ll say so long for another six months or so as the cycle of life continues here on the island.
It was only a year ago that we first started hearing about a strange place in China called Wuhan. The impact it has caused, both here and around the world, has been devastating to say the least, and will not be gone anytime soon.
Whether we have learned anything over this last year, or will learn anything in the future to help streamline responses to tragic challenges such as, this will be known only as time progresses. The history of our actions must be written without the contamination of political rhetoric, bias or prejudice if we are to create the proper responses to future events such as these.
As each day passes, we continue to enhance our knowledge base regarding this invisible threat, providing us with answers as to how better to move forward in protecting those that are most vulnerable amongst us. Yes, at times, it appears that the process seems to change, but that is true as more information about how best to proceed is formulated and evaluated.
Probably one of the most confusing aspects is the discussion regarding masks. When and where, as well as what to wear, can be frustrating at times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the car, only to kick myself as I have to return to my vehicle when I realize I’ve forgotten to bring that pesky shield as I’ve headed into a store or restaurant.
Out of respect to that establishment, its owners and staff, I choose to wear it because I care about them, many of whom are friends of mine who have everything they own wrapped up in those businesses, and have suffered enough during these trying times.
Now that the vaccines are being allocated to the individual states for distribution, we have another challenge on our hands. Here in Florida, we have prioritized that process to those who work in healthcare, those 65 and older, and those with identified special needs. Needless to say, we have seen some scheduling issues regarding appointments, but improvements are being made as to how to access appointments, even as I write this.
Initially, the appointments were only available through the Collier County Department of Health, which utilized Eventbrite for scheduling vaccine inoculations. Later in the month, the Governor’s office also arranged for appointments to be made through Publix pharmacies.
Through negotiations with the Collier County Health Department, a small amount of vaccine was allocated for January 22 and January 29 drive–through events on Marco Island. Both events were an outstanding success, and 400 individuals were vaccinated. However, the one glitch in the system came with the making of the appointments. That was especially evident when the overwhelming response on January 27 to receive an appointment ended up crashing the city’s website and phone systems.
The adage “No good deed goes unpunished” would quickly come across social media sites due to citizen frustration with the inability to book an appointment. In less than two to four minutes, all of the appointment slots were again exhausted.
The State of Florida, Collier County Health Department and the city staff are working diligently to eliminate the appointment logjam. The state also opened a new statewide appointment information website. You may access it by simply typing into your web browser myvaccine.fl.gov . Fill out the form to be kept apprised of progress or to be put on a wait list.
The irritation residents are feeling is widespread and understandable, but taking it out on those seeking a resolution to the issue won’t solve it either. We’ll get through this and do it together, helping each other.
Aristotle was right. “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”