clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

People are dying to get vaccinated

All I hear is excuses about the lack of vaccine from the federal government. What we want is a schedule that tells us: Am I Number 5 in line or Number 932,142?

Sgt Alex Dunn of the Illinois Air National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Dalandis Neely at a mass vaccination center established at the Tinley Park Convention Center on January 26, 2021 in Tinley Park, Illinois. The site is the first large-scale vaccination center in Cook County,
Sgt Alex Dunn of the Illinois Air National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Dalandis Neely at a mass vaccination center established at the Tinley Park Convention Center, the first large-scale vaccination center in Cook County,
Scott Olson/Getty Images

This entire COVID-19 vaccination process has been created to make me feel stupid. It’s like one of those paintings where people say you can see the secret if you turn your head to the side, squint, make your mind a blank and stare until a mystery figure reveals itself.

Only, in this case, people are dying to get the COVID vaccine and the mystery is why public officials are doing nothing about it.

They talk about fighting a war, but it feels a lot more like our half-hearted effort in Vietnam rather than the all-out mobilization during World War II.

I remember a time when all the big-shot public health doctors were begging Americans to get the COVID vaccination because they feared many of us didn’t trust the government or the science.

Well, there are now millions of us waiting out here, battering away at the websites, trying to schedule a shot and getting nothing.

Time after time I have received responses that the pharmacy, hospital, state or county (Cook County in my case) has run out of vaccine.

Fine. So why did I receive the following text message on Sunday evening?

“We are pleased to announce that Cook County Health has released additional availability of vaccine appointments to Phase 1A and 1B residents of Cook County…To find an appointment, please click” — and an internet link was provided.

I jumped for joy. Shouted to my wife that we were in. And clicked on the link.

Sorry, Charlie, there are no openings. Just toying with you, buddy.

The next day, in the morning, I received another text message:

“The additional availability of vaccine appointments at Cook County Health sites has been fully booked. More will be released as vaccine is received. Please be patient.”

I was being patient until you folks sent out a text saying there were vaccination appointments to be had.

Somebody has compared this COVID-19 vaccine situation to the “Hunger Games” where everybody fights it out and only the fittest survive. That’s apt because the rules in the “Hunger Games” changed all the time without notice.

I contacted a spokesman for the Cook County Health Department because I was sure its computer system must have been hacked. Why would there be text messages put out that did nothing but cause confusion, anxiety and frustration?

Well, there was no hacking.

This is the way the system is supposed to work.

I have seen Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle get COVID injections, allegedly to set an example for the public and illustrate the safety of the vaccine.

Well, has either of them tried to use the websites to get scheduled for a shot? I doubt it.

All I hear is excuses about the lack of vaccine from the federal government and the lack of planning by the Trump administration. Well, Trump is gone. We all know the supply is limited.

What we want is a schedule that tells us where and when we can get vaccinated. Am I Number 5 in line or Number 932,142? Should I go to Walgreen’s or a public site patrolled by the National Guard?

I get the feeling people are skipping ahead of me in line. Pulling strings and using insider knowledge to bump the rest of us.

Be patient, they say. Then they say, “Keep trying all the time and eventually you will get an appointment.”

Government officials demand more money to fight the war against COVID. They urge us to trust them. Well, we have trusted them with our lives.

People are dying to get their vaccinations.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com