Publisher’s Corner

JB Lester

The Vaccine Maze

I got my first round of the Pfizer vaccine this past week and I am scheduled to get my second dose in a couple of weeks. I am one of the fortunate ones. Missouri has been called a vaccine desert because so few vaccines are available. People, elderly people, are driving hundreds of miles to get the shot that might save their lives. One person on Facebook recently wrote, “People from St. Louis are driving to Kansas City and people from Kansas City are driving to St. Louis to get their shots. This is nuts!” A very helpful Facebook group called St. Louis and Eastern Missouri Covid-19 Vaccine Info has been a godsend to many people in need. I used this group and their information to finally schedule my appointment. Many are calling the people who started up this group “Angles.”  And indeed, they certainly are. There have been news articles claiming the sharing of “personal” links from those who got to sign up for their vaccine. But turns out this site only promotes the sharing of “Group” links that help people find their way in this maze of a vaccine rollout. I have to say, it’s just another blemish on Missouri and its governor and whoever is helping him and others “roll out” the distribution and implementation of these vaccines. People in their 70s and 80s shouldn’t have to drive hours to get a vaccine that should be available right in their hometown. And that’s even if they have the transportation to get them miles and miles from home. Many don’t have this luxury and end up on the short end of the stick again. Left in the dust of this Vaccine Desert. Yes, I was fortunate to find an appointment through this great site after weeks and weeks of stress and anxiety (just ask my wife).  But many thousands of people don’t know of this site and are still waiting for their spot in line. Now the new tiers are supposed to open up and that will pour more people into the maze. All deserve the vaccine of course, but not before the group that have been deemed more at risk, the old and the sick. I signed up on everyone’s list and had been waiting for a couple of months for them to call or contact me. Nothing happened. Then I found this site. And things happened. I was able to get an appointment a bit farther out than I wanted, but I wasn’t going to quibble. Then while I was waiting, I got another appointment with help through this site through the “controversial” group link. I took the earlier appointment and cancelled my other one. I feel a bit bad since I got multiple appointments through this wonderful site and some are still trying. I first suggest you join this Facebook group: St. Louis & Eastern Missouri Covid-19 Vaccine Info, and then don’t give up. Keep trying and don’t wait to be called, emailed or texted. Be proactive. Or help someone be proactive. Call any and all phone numbers. Stay on hold until you get a live person. I don’t understand why my hospital group did not offer more vaccines faster so I could sign up with them. But we are currently in the position to just get the vaccine first and ask questions later I guess. I think it’s horrible that people have to travel so far and get so stressed out when we are pleading with people to get the vaccine so we can achieve herd immunity someday. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to all this. Why is it so hard to protect ourselves in time of pandemic or cast our vote when it comes our time to do so? Some of our systems are messed up. And they are often some of the most important systems in our lives. I hope we learn a lot from this pandemic. Yes, we are more vulnerable than we ever thought possible. Once we learn to get politics out of health care, the environment and protecting our citizens, we will then once again become the great nation we all strive to be. Until then, mask up, get vaccinated and save lives.

JB Lester; Publisher