standing Letters

I send this letter in to let people know what they might have to expect when they get their vaccine and also to inform those in charge in the hope that they will make improvements. This is not a good system for over-75s.

On Thursday, I got my first jab at the major vaccination center in Cranston. What a performance it was.

My appointment was for 2:40 ... so at 11 a.m. it started to snow. For what is normally a 45-minute drive from Charlestown, I left about 1:15, allowing 1 1/2 hours. I needed it ... Route 1 was unplowed, snow-covered and slow. In the better parts, one could get up to 40 mph.

We only drove in the snowstorm because we had heard that these centers would be opened for 65-and-over people on Monday and thus the check-in system etc. would be very crowded and it may be hard to get appointments. Why this was done BEFORE us 75-and-over folks had gotten our jabs makes no sense to me.

We made it 10 minutes early, only to find a long line of cars waiting to turn in, and then a 200- to 300-yard line of people outside the building all standing relatively close to each other, definitely not social distancing, otherwise the line would have been a half-mile long. But all were wearing masks, and we were outside in the “fresh” but cold air. At least the line kept moving, slowly, and in 30 minutes we reached the entrance door … where we all got a free squirt of hand sanitizer.

More waiting … now socially distanced with markers on the floor. In about 20 minutes we reached the first line of 10 check-in desks, then 5 more minutes to the second line of 10 check-in desks … then a couple more minutes, and finally, “Jab 1.”

After 15 minutes of rest for after-effects and for tussling with the internet check-in system for the second appointment, and finally we get to a bathroom. Us 75-plus-year-old guys cannot hold it that long! Some port-a-potties outside would be a BIG improvement.

Throughout all of this process, there were many National Guard men and women supervising, helping, checking in, etc. … appreciative thanks to them.

When we came out of the building, the line outside was just as long as it had been when we went in.

We were told there were two reasons for these long lines: 1. Because of the snowstorm, they bundled together two days’ worth of appointments into one day; and 2. When this center opened, they did 900 vaccinations per day … but yesterday they were experimenting to see what is the maximum that they could do in a day … aiming for 2,500!

Hopefully for my second jab in late March they will be a lot more streamlined and have toilet facilities, and also I won’t have to drive in a snowstorm to beat a crowd.

John Topping


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