Barbara Parent: Once Scheduled, Not Stressful At All

Barbara Parent: Once Scheduled, Not Stressful At All

reporter photo

Navigating the online system in an attempt to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment left me as confused as programming a GPS.

Yet, in defense of my GPS, it eventually gets me to my destination.

After unsuccessfully trying to schedule online on the sites provided by multiple health care facilities or the VAMS system and winding up totally confused, I figured it was my fault.

My Chart was the most frustrating since I could not provide my code, wondering where and when one would have received the sacred code. No code led to filling out an application and providing a social security number, against one’s better judgement. How many will say they filled out the form, watched it all disappear, only to fill it out again and again to no avail.

I shall not go into the frustration involved in the process which never came to fruition as I am not the only one with a story to tell.

This was last month when the vaccine was first made available to those over 75.

After days of no luck online I dialed a phone number linked to a site and following the prompts, I pushed #2 - available for those over 75 without access to a computer. Please do not think harshly of me, as I had nowhere else to turn.

The joke was on me and the irony of it all was Prompt #2, “Press if you do not have access to a computer,” resulted in being informed by the automated attendant to go to the website, www...

A few weeks later the news was out that those over 75 were having trouble with online scheduling. Those like myself, admittedly not too computer savvy, however, were not the only age group having problems. Florida at the time was scheduling those over 65 and what I was hearing from my brother and our cousins mirrored what the over 75ers were experiencing here in Connecticut. The Floridians would begin at 6 a.m. spending hours upon hours of watching time slots fill up as their place in “line” inched upwards only to be met when their turn came with, “none available.”

Finding myself in the same situation as what appeared to be problematic nationwide was little consolation to missing out on the much anticipated vaccine. What turned out to be the light at the end of the tunnel came the morning when I read Business Editor Mary Ellen Godin’s story in the Record-Journal.

Mary Ellen reported, as were other news outlets, on the frustration felt by over 75ers attempting to register for the vaccine.

Oh sure, information on statewide locations where the vaccine was being administered was readily available. The problem: the registration process.

My kudos here go to Mary Ellen who provided the information that not only was the Meriden  Department of Health and Human Services distributing the vaccine to those over 75 at the Meriden Senior Center, but she also gave a phone number. I called it the next day and left a message with Health and Human Services Director Lea Crown. That afternoon Claire (I hope the spelling is correct) called me and scheduled my first shot for Feb. 13 and the second, March 13. She cordially provided information for the visit, mask, identification, Hanover Street entrance to the Center, free parking in the lot across the street.

Ten minutes early for my 11 a.m. appointment, masked health department personnel put visitors at ease and handed out two forms to fill out while seated six feet from others., Within five minutes or so I was led to another section of the Center’s large activity room and observed, appropriately separated, four desks manned by medical personnel in crisp white lab coats. I was led to one of the desks, sat down on the chair beside it and noted the identification tag on the blouse splashed with pink hearts on the nurse across from me: was her name, followed by her degrees and title, Assistant Director of Health.

She double checked my information, filled out my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card and first dose information, explained any possible reactions to the vaccine, primarily a sore arm which proved true but for less than 24 hours.

Fifteen minutes followed sitting in another part of the room in the event of a reaction. The entire process, beginning with my first call to schedule the vaccine to leaving the Senior Center, just a half hour after arrival was never stressful.

If anything, I was the one who messed up - who wears a long-sleeved sweater when she’s getting a vaccine?

No problem, I was told, and while embarrassed, I did get the sweater’s sleeve past the point on my arm where the needle belonged. I hardly felt the prick.

With local school, politics and coronavirus news being more important now than ever, please help our newsroom deliver the coverage you deserve. Please support Local news.

More From This Section

Latest Videos