Hunger Games Death Match

Have you competed in the Covid-19 vaccine scheduling game yet?

After some friends and neighbors were successful getting their first Covid-19 vaccinations, it was time to “up” our competition level in this vaccination reality game.

My injections were already scheduled in a normal fashion, having made both V.A. appointments 3 weeks in advance. I can live with a couple weeks wait, having waited this long already, and still standing. Knock wood.

After hearing of other ‘iffy’ and failed options through friends and relatives, it was time to get more serious about getting my better half scheduled, especially now that the initial group 1A had just recently been extended to now include her group 1B.

A couple neighbors had success through a local pharmacy, and I got the word (Pssst, hey…) to try their website last night around 8:00 p.m.

Let the games begin!
During my pre-8:00 p.m. visits they only showed scheduling slots for Shingles vaccinations, so I opened a browsing tab on my PC that I could refresh periodically, as the big hour drew near.

As a secondary option, I did the same on my iPhone. Now it was a matter of watching and waiting. The pharmacy website wasn’t working right, probably due to getting bombarded with hundreds or thousands of visitors doing the exact same thing.

The website industry calls that a DoS which is short for “Denial-of-Service.” It’s often been used in the past by bad actors, or competitors, to cripple websites, by flooding them with an overload of requests.

To kill time, I was reading about the Robinhood investment company, in the latest news. Bingo, out of the corner of my eye, the Covid scheduling option at the pharmacy popped-up on my iPhone!

Since I like the size smart phone that fits easily into my pocket, it’s a small screen size, and would be my very last choice for working on the fill-in form that suddenly appeared. Entering her name, email address and birthdate, I worked quickly while trying to avoid time consuming errors.

DoS-ed with no Dose
A 4:55 p.m. slot appeared for Saturday (today) at a location only a few miles away, but by the time I tapped “Confirm” the slot had been filled. Repeating all the steps to try a second slot, it failed again. Efforts after that all resulted in more DoS results.

My frustration level was a 10. Probably 100, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Sold out concert tickets
A helpful Gen X neighbor offered that this exercise was like trying to get online tickets to a popular rock concert, requiring a combination of tenacity and luck, while focusing on the luck aspect.

It has to be the stupidest feeling exercise I ever wasted a couple hours on! Why not a normal scheduling procedure, or just being able to get on a waiting list?

The disadvantaged
My sympathies turned to thoughts of the underprivileged and disadvantaged, who don’t have a computer, or the skills, to compete in this Hunger Games Death Match. In a bizarre way, maybe they are the lucky ones, avoiding this sort of tech frustration altogether.

Then I thought of those who don’t even wish to get the vaccine, even a couple health care workers I know! Plus I had just read earlier in the day, about the 60-year-old health care worker in California who died 5 days after his 2nd shot. Rare case they say, which can’t necessarily be pinned on the circumstantial evidence. R.I.P. brother.

For months now, critics have targeted our two top Pennsylvania officials, namely Governor Wolf, now that our health secretary has moved onward and upward. It’s been a struggle for them too, trying to do the right thing to protect public health and safety, while businesses have been crippled.

Blinding speed
Then you think of how lucky we are to even have vaccines “available” this soon, thanks to the dedication and diligence displayed by researchers and Big Pharma.

Last in line
Beyond hearing word of the “inside track” to early vaccinations being enjoyed through “special connections,” you also read of blatant favoritism, similar to the old, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” as told in recent newspaper stories. And then you think of poorer nations and all the poor around the world, with the worst “pecking order” of all.

We’ve all gotten a big, sickening dose of 20-20 from 2020, and the second injection is here now. You won’t have to wait.

Mask up Bob

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