As of 6:49am on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, I had been “in the queue” to reserve a vaccination for my 86-year-old mother on the Publix Coronavirus website for nearly one hour.
At 7:33am, the screen went blank and the ominous message “An error (500 Internal Server Error) has occurred in response to this request,” which ended my fruitless quest to protect my mom from a potential death sentence – by 7:49am, the site returned with a message that all available appointments had been claimed. . .
Two-hours later I jumped on the opportunity to try my luck on Volusia County’s online booking platform for a chance at getting her an appointment at any of the three events scheduled at the Fairgrounds later this week.
With family and friends all trying desperately to give one old lady a fighting chance – my wife was disconnected from the Volusia County Citizen Information Center line – while a friend and I waited in vain to register for one remaining appointment.
Ultimately, after waiting over 30-minutes – the system kicked both of us out with a message that all appointments for the three-day DeLand event were full. . .in minutes.
Oh, the oxymoronic Volusia County “Citizen Information Center?” Still a monotonous busy signal. . .
But it is comforting to know that Volusia County Emergency Management “empathizes with my concerns.”
Stressful. Frustrating. And, ultimately, futile.
And the grim scavenger hunt continues. . .
It’s all a giant crapshoot – a hopeless exercise – an over-the-horizon logjam of the elderly, sick, and infirm, vulnerable people of all races, colors, and creeds who have been stepped over by cowardly assholes on all sides of the political spectrum, craven politicians and well-connected Big Shots who have waltzed to the front of the line, abusing the privilege of their public positions to receive precious doses in some cockamamie scheme to “encourage others” to get in this endless queue of the unfortunate masses with no political clout.
And all anyone in a position to influence these things can do is feel sorry for themselves and complain about the ineptitude of the next level of bureaucracy above them. . .
You see, my mom – she doesn’t know anyone important.
She has no political influence or preferred status (beyond being in the very category of people the CDC placed first on the eligibility list as confirmed by Governor Ron DeSantis’ toothless executive order) and she does not want any special favors – or some bureaucrat’s goddamned empathy. . .
Like so many other elderly Floridians, my mom simply wants a legitimate opportunity to obtain an appointment – a more permanent reservation – perhaps one that places her on a larger list beyond fighting desperately for a one-hour timeslot on registration systems that continue to crash like clockwork.
And she wants a legitimate distribution system that stops “medical tourism” – where tourists (even some from outside the United States) descend upon our state solely for the purpose of receiving a vaccination – a fair and legitimate process where players like AdventHealth stop using the federally supplied vaccine as a cheap marketing strategy for their “Medical Group,” and tin-pot politicians and incompetent bureaucrats stop patting themselves on the back for the “great job” they’re doing, etc., etc.
She wants a chance at life beyond lockdown.
What is happening in the State of Florida is a disgusting example of government ineptitude on parade.
To add insult, The Daytona Beach News-Journal glommed onto an oh-so-pompous op/ed from the Palm Beach Post’s painfully obvious column entitled, “Florida is botching the vaccine rollout.”
No shit. Is there anyone from Pensacola to the Planet Pluto who doesn’t know that?
So why in the hell don’t those of you who buy printer’s ink by the barrel do something about it?
Complaining and pointing fingers is my job. Dammit.
I don’t need to pay Gannett, or some other massive media conglomerate, to commiserate with me – I need them to get off their ass, stop fanning the political flames, and launch an independent investigation into the who, what, when, and why of how this rollout of the vaccine left the tracks.
Ferreting out threats to our collective safety is the fundamental job of an investigative journalist (if Gannett still has any on their ever-shrinking payroll) and, in my view, protecting the public welfare is the essential role of the media in a free and open society.
This sham cannot continue.
We can all agree, the politicization of the most important mass vaccination in the history of mankind is an abomination – something that can no longer be left to those jacklegs at the Florida Department of Health – an agency that should be immediately disbanded as a clear and continuing threat to the public’s health and welfare.
Volusia County – you suck at your job of protecting vulnerable residents.
State of Florida – you’re worse.
Now, get your heads out of your ass and develop a system that allows permanent advanced registrations and stop this frustrating scramble for first come/first served luck-of-the-draw “appointments.”
Do it now.
If I sound pissed-off – that’s because I am.
And you should be too.