Lining Up for the Vaccine: Worth The Wait

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 The line was long, but it seemed worth it to those who stood outside Beach Channel High School (BCHS) on Monday, January 18. As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out, there have been concerns regarding the process leading up to vaccination. First, how does one make an appointment? Second, is it difficult to make an appointment? Third, when one does successfully make an appointment, how long does one wait in line to be vaccinated?

While speaking to people on the line stretched out along Beach Channel Drive, answers varied. For starters, in order to be eligible, individuals must be either 65 and older, a teacher, school staff, in-person college instructor and/or childcare worker, correction staff, first responder, public transit worker, public-facing grocery store worker, and/or persons working and living in group homeless shelters and other group settings. An appointment must be made online or by phone to get the vaccine.

The second question, regarding whether or not it is difficult to make an appointment also varies. Those accustomed to utilizing smart devices as well as the internet did not have issues. According to a Department of Education (DOE) employee (who did not want to be identified), “it was not difficult to make an appointment at all. We received a link from school and you were able to make an appointment.” For those not accustomed to utilizing smart devices and the internet, it was a different outcome. A person named Mary said, “It was rather difficult, I was getting directed all over the place.”

Finally, how long must one wait in line to get the actual vaccine? This too varies. Those with appointments are advised not to show up too early. Over the weekend, some faced longer waits. According to a DOE employee waiting to be vaccinated, “the process has been a nightmare at BCHS prior to today.” But her experience on Monday was a little better. How long had she had been waiting? She responded, “only 20 minutes” and was soon called to be vaccinated.

Besides getting an appointment, there were other questions to be asked such as, “Are you concerned about reactions?” The responses were mixed. Some were concerned about getting a fever, but others just offered a simple yes or no. Others were a bit more specific. “No, my wife and sister-in-law just got the shot,” one person said. “They had soreness in the arm after the first shot, and a headache after the second but that is all.”

When asked if they had a vaccine preference, most people didn’t though one person wished a Johnson & Johnson vaccine was available because that is expected to be one shot only whereas Pfizer and Moderna each require a second shot. The Beach Channel site offers the Moderna vaccine.

Here is the bottom line. The COVID-19 crisis has been extremely difficult on many fronts, but this is the first step in eradicating the virus. And from our quick poll experience, those first in line are grateful for the opportunity.

To schedule an appointment, head to https://vaccinepod.nyc.gov/  or call 877-829-4692.

By Daniel Lynch

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