Survival of the luckiest


To the Editor:

We are now all contestants in the Hunger Games. To refresh your memory, this was the series of books about sadistic rulers who required their citizens to participate in a contest in an arena, where the last person alive won. Our arena is trying to get the COVID vaccine. The people that developed the current system have to be sadists. You have to be continually glued to your computer hoping to find an opening, and when you occasionally find one you madly fill out several pages of forms only to find at the end that the appointment is gone. Gotcha.

Lest you think the system on the Vineyard is any better, think again. First we are told that if you are a patient you can sit back and relax, you will be notified. If you were 75 or older, you won. Suddenly, with virtually no notice, the system changed, and it was only if you happened to listen to the forum a week ago Friday that you found out about this change. (BTW, the message on the hospital’s phone system still is perpetuating this false information.) Then, while the rest of the state opens vaccinations up to 65-plus, the hospital for unexplained reasons delays it until this Saturday. They do not tell you what time on Saturday, making sure everyone has a sleepless night checking the website to see if one can book an appointment.

At 8 am on Saturday the gate is opened. I get on, select a time on Monday, select the option that I am a Patient Gateway user, get a validation code, enter it, and am now logged into my Patient Gateway account. I’m ecstatic. But then nothing. Two hours later I call the hospital and am told I do not have an appointment, and when I ask why not, I am told I will just have to try again next Saturday. I ask if I did something wrong and they ask if I am using Google Chrome for my browser. No, I’m using Safari, the default browser on my iPad, like most other users.

At this point I am on the verge of having a heart attack or stroke, and thinking if I have to go to the hospital maybe I can get the vaccine that way.

The hospital staff was very polite and kept repeating that they are “doing the best they can.” I get that the federal government under the previous administration made a total mess of things. In Massachusetts, Baker doubled down, making an even bigger mess. I was hoping that maybe locally we could do a better job. Alas, that is not the case. The hospital’s registration system gets an F.

Good luck to all of you in getting vaccinated. In the meantime, be well. 

Bob Rosenbaum