The Odyssey: Fred Snowflack’s Vaccination Voyage

Snowflack

Spending too much time on social media can be hazardous, but those venturing to Phil Murphy’s Facebook page can read a lot about vaccines.

“My parents signed up for vaccine in December and still have not been called – help,” reads one recent post.

But then, there’s this one:

“This vaccination site is great. Got my first shot last week. Well run, organized and efficient.”

All is indeed in the eye of the beholder, one supposes. Needless to say, the posts cited above are each representative of many others.

As fate would have it, I signed up for the Covid vaccine myself a month or so ago, giving me the opportunity to do some “real” reporting on an issue.

For a while, nothing happened.

But then, I began getting periodic emails essentially telling me that I was on the list – keep waiting. This was understandable, because I knew the problem wasn’t lack of vaccine sites, but lack of vaccine doses.

The need to wait leads to criticism.

Some of this is politically motivated to be sure. Partisan Republicans need no excuse to criticize a Democratic governor.

If things were reversed, Democrats would do the same thing. And they did when Donald Trump was president.

Still, putting political considerations aside, some of this criticism seems off-base. There are many people who scorn and ridicule government on one hand, but on the other hand, they expect government to instantly meet their needs.

In truth, there is no real blueprint here, considering that the last pandemic of this type was 100 years ago. That being the case, the governor’s poll numbers have been pretty good throughout the pandemic, although that can certainly change.

Eventually – last Friday afternoon –  both an email and text message told me that my number had popped up. There was a vaccine available for me. I was directed to a site that showed a number of available appointments for this week at the so-called mega-site in Rockaway. Township.  Ironically, the vaccine site is in the old Sears store, an iconic department store franchise battered by the pandemic.

My appointment was for Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. and I arrived about 30 minutes early, only to be told by a Morris County Sheriff’s Officer to come back at 10 a.m.

I sat in my car for about 15 minutes. That was the only glitch.

Returning at 10 a.m., I joined a line that immediately began moving. From there, all was smooth and precise. My name was found on the list, my credentials were checked, and the shot administered. National Guard troops help make sure the site runs well. One had to remember what they saw. More than one sign in the place said taking photos or making videos was prohibited, putting the vaccine site on par with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Afterwards, I and others were asked to sit in a holding area for 15 minutes just in case anyone had a bad reaction. But unlike what usually happens when you give blood, no one gave us Twinkies to eat. Oh well.

After 15 minutes, I was given my second appointment date in three weeks and that was it. In my case, there was no reaction at all; not even a sore arm.

Beyond getting an appointment, we know the vaccine itself is also controversial.

Continuing the trend of political views influencing public health, polls indicate Republicans are less likely to get the vaccine than Democrats. Given today’s political divide, it’s hard to see that changing, and there is probably nothing Murphy’s Administration can do about it.

Everyone has the right to control their own body, so this is something not worth arguing about.

Still, one can’t ignore the fact there’s a reason why parents no longer worry about their kids getting polio.

 

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  • Kathleen Demarest

    ……bravo, BRAVO for Fred Snowflack

    bravo for getting the vaccine.
    BRAVO for writing an informative, interesting,
    concise, and helpful column about receiving the vaccine.

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