TEN TIPS TO MAXIMIZE SUCCESS IN SCHEDULING YOUR VACCINE

There Are Now Three FDA Approved Vaccines to Treat COVID-19

This Edition of BoomerGal Focuses on Helpful Ways to Schedule Your Appointments for Both the First and Second Dose Treatment

A simple but effective generic photo of a vaccine treatment. I am not recommending any particular one of the available vaccines–it is entirely your choice. Source: Artem Podrez.

California’s vaccine rollout has been difficult to manage with so many moving parts, while in other communities and states the ability to secure slots for obtaining the vaccine has been quite smooth.  I’m sure a portion of the difficulty has to do with the enormous population of California creating the age-old issue of demand outstripping supply, but also winter storms in some areas of the country affected transportation of products along with routine scheduling glitches which made it difficult to navigate your way to success.  Thus, the rollout here in California and elsewhere, however you define it, has created problems for Boomers and seniors in being able to work through the system obtaining pertinent information about the vaccine.  Those of us who are eligible for the inoculation are left to wonder:  How Do I Get A Vaccine?

The answer to that question has changed a few times and most likely depends on where you live and how many clinics and vaccination centers have enough doses on hand.  Fortunately, as of this writing, the number of doses of vaccine have been increasing here in California and throughout the country.  To help matters, the FDA has just approved a third vaccine, the single shot Johnson and Johnson version, which will help with the distribution of inoculations as more citizens become eligible.

I thought the prioritization of eligibility was spot on.  The very senior population 75 and older and of course all of those considered essential workers in our vast economy and healthcare system.  The next tier, which many of us fit in, are those 65 to 75, and now the younger and more vulnerable due to pre-existing conditions are fast becoming the third tier.

With this as a backdrop, how is all this going to work?  The moving parts are many, but with diligence there are ways to maximize your return on effort in obtaining your vaccine.

And, the key word is DILIGENCE!

This pandemic has been with us for a year now, and through the marvels of science we now have vaccines available for treatment. Source: Edward Jenner.

Regardless of where you live, the various websites made available by your state or the Federal Government are the best source for obtaining your appointments.  You can search for the best location within a certain driving distance and the most suitable date and time.  Sometimes, they are not easy to navigate, and the key to having success is to go back to the site frequently, and I mean several times even during the same day.  Locations and slots open and close very rapidly, so your ability to secure your time often depends on when you do your search—I found the absolute best time is first thing in the morning before the masses descend on the internet.

All of that is fine provided you know how to navigate the internet.  For some Boomers and seniors, that might not be the case.  You don’t have an internet connection, you don’t know to access a website, or you might have physical limitations.  Your local and county agencies providing information on the vaccine is a wonderful place to call for assistance and guidance to sign up for an appointment.  Enlist help from a family member or friend, and if you live in a senior community, they will, in many cases, offer the vaccine within the development itself through your Home Owner’s Association.  If you are unable to leave, they may and come to your home to administer it.  

If you’ve received your first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, congratulations, you’re well on your way to being protected from the coronavirus.  My BoomerGuy and I received our first dose a short time ago.  It took us over two weeks of scouring the available websites in order to secure our appointments.  He received his four days before me and at a different clinic site, a local middle school.   I was able to secure mine as a result of being notified by my pharmacy they had just received their first supply.  In both instances, the organization and courtesies were simply outstanding.  What a delight:  the support staff was highly professional, well-trained, and very caring.  

As William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases says, “we have told everyone these vaccines are 95% effective, but they’re only 95% effective if you indeed get the second dose.”  

There is quite a bit of information out there regarding the pandemic, the virus itself, the new variants that are working their way across the US, and of course the vaccines.  It is entirely up to you what you choose to read and absorb and practice.  However, I felt it was up to me to share several helpful tips on how to navigate the application process from the experience both my BoomerGuy and I have had.

“Knowledge is power”

Thomas Jefferson, January 14, 1818

  • The very first thing we did was check with our primary care physician.  Each of us has a different set of underlying conditions and we wanted to make certain we were good candidates for the vaccine and which was best suited for our particular needs.  
  • Talk with your family and friends on their experience to help guide you.
  • You should always do your own homework and due diligence on every aspect of the virus and the vaccines available, and from that along with the advice from your primary make your choice on which to select.
  • As you try to schedule your appointment, I found the best time of day is first thing in the morning before the crowds descend on the internet.
  • When you schedule your first vaccine, do everything you can to make definitive arrangements for your second.  I have too many friends who received their first and are now looking for their second because they didn’t schedule it alongside the first.
  • It is imperative your second dose be from the same manufacturer as your first.
  • If you’ve had an appointment canceled, not by your own doing, don’t wait for someone to call you.  Be proactive and secure a backup.
  • If you’re having difficulty with the internet and scheduling via a particular website, call your county offices for their guidance—they may even be able to schedule an appointment for you over the phone.
  • Be on time, or even slightly ahead of your scheduled appointment.  You’ll be placed in the queue.  
  • Wear a mask, everyone you encounter will being wearing their mask.
  • When you arrive for your inoculation, have your ID and supporting appointment documents ready to hand over.  
  • Be patient, inasmuch as your appointment is scheduled, your time slot might slip slightly due to any number of logistical issues.
  • Be prepared to rest in place for 15 minutes following your vaccine to ensure there is no immediate unwanted or adverse reaction.
  • Try to have someone drive you just in case you have a slight reaction that would impair your ability to drive.
  • And the most important tip, be kind to your caregiver.  Many are volunteers and are attempting to do the right thing for their community.  Trust me, if you’re kind to them, they will be kind to you.  That’s just how we roll at BoomerGal.

“We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge”

John Naisbitt

The above quote is so true, and so applicable today as it was in 1982 when Mr. Naisbitt wrote the NY Times best-selling book Megatrends, Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives.  Two sources that I rely on whenever I am writing about the coronavirus or wanting to learn about the most unbiased science behind it are:  www.aarp.org/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov.  They are wonderful and filled with all kinds of knowledge.

Thank you to all the scientists, healthcare workers and volunteers who have made this vaccine possible and available so quickly. Source: Artem Podrez.

As a side note, I wanted to let you know I am and will continue to be a bit behind in my postings.  As I’ve shared with you, I lost both my parents to COVID related complications and I’m dealing with the aftermath of all the logistics associated with their passing.  Needless to say, it has been rather time-consuming and painful to go through the finalization of putting them to rest as properly as I can.  My dear, dear parents who did not deserve to die from this terrible virus, I miss you so much.

Your #1 BoomerGal, Connie.

Editorial content provided by Michelle Crouch and AARP

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a medical doctor nor do I profess to provide specific medical or virological advice as it relates to COVID-19 nor any preventative treatment for such.  Rather, I am sharing my experience for what I found to be successful methods for seniors in securing the necessary appointments for the first and second dose of the vaccine, and the one chosen is entirely up to you.

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