We need a vaccination plan

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To the Editor:

OK — I will admit it — sometimes I think “out of the box,” and it doesn’t always work. 

I have been reading The MV Times stories about COVID vaccination guidelines and possible timelines. I have also looked at the same information as disseminated by the state. 

I, of course, had no faith in the Trump administration’s claim that it would have 20 million people vaccinated by Jan 1. Did anyone really believe that? So OK — the Biden administration is saying 100 million vaccinations in 100 days — good luck. My point here is not to berate or mock the promises of federal politicians. 

What I want to know is approximately when, where, and how I can get my shot. 

There are about 20,000 residents on Martha’s Vineyard — some old, some young, some healthy, some fragile, and some at severe risk of dying if they get this virus. Some are frontline workers, some are anti-vaxxers, some even deny this virus even exists.

I will not at this point even try to convince deniers or anti-vaxxers to get it, but if they are watching the “guinea pigs” to see what happens, I respectfully ask that they voluntarily go to the back of the line and wait until everyone else is vaccinated. 

Most of us are anxious to get the shot. We see scenes of chaos in some states, where elderly people wait in their cars for hours, only to be told that the available vaccinations are gone. Try again tomorrow, they are told. This is unacceptable. 

OK, let me get back to my “out of the box” comment. and throw out a suggestion here for the local people trying to roll this out in a fair and equitable way. A simple Excel spreadsheet has more than 20,000 lines on it. It also has multiple pages. 

How hard would it be for the powers that be to set up a spreadsheet with the pertinent information to prioritize who gets the shot when? It seems simple — develop a website where an individual can enter their information confidentially. Like this: 

Your name

Your phone number, email, or any other contact information 

Your age

Any comorbidity? — who cares what they are — do not enter specifics 

Your occupation

Any extenuating circumstances as to why you should be first or last on the list?

All voluntary, of course. Then, set one or two people who know how to manage data on a spreadsheet, and reply to everyone who has signed up and give them an approximate number of where they are in the line. Of course, everyone will not know about such a site, and it will be in constant flux. 

But it would provide a database, and a way for the medical community to distribute this in a sane and humane way. Even with some good administration, it will have flaws. But what do we have now? 

I am 68 with some comorbidities, and I can’t get a clue as to when, where, or how I can get this vaccination. Yup, I will likely get it before my healthy daughter, but will I have to wait in some line for hours, and then be told to come back in a few weeks? 

We deserve better. 

I know only simple spreadsheet functions, and could not set this up myself. I know this would be more daunting than it seems, but I would be happy to volunteer my time to be part of a committee to help coordinate such a thing. 

 

Don Keller
Vineyard Haven