It’s not lost on us that, exactly a year after Massachusetts recorded its first case of COVID-19, we’re already making a vaccine available to members of the public. That’s a truly remarkable achievement, and in that light, it’s reasonable for public health officials to ask us to be patient as vaccine production and distribution are ramped up.
Still, our patience is running thin.
It’s well known that, demographically speaking, Orleans and Chatham are the two oldest communities in Massachusetts, and among the two oldest in New England. With such a population of senior citizens, COVID-19 outbreaks here are truly deadly. So we were glad when the Baker administration pushed people 75 and older to the front of the line in Phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out, followed by people 65 and older.
But requiring our oldest citizens to navigate a tricky online sign-up portal, and urging them to keep visiting the website even in the middle of the night to try and secure a coveted vaccine appointment, is nonsensical and cruel. What’s resulted is frustration and fear. We’re not vying for concert tickets here. In seeking vaccine appointments, we’re reaching for a lifeline during the pandemic.
We’re glad the state is poised to launch a telephone hotline for vaccine sign-ups this week. And we’re glad that, by all projections, the Biden administration will be pushing additional doses to states on an accelerated schedule. We just hope that, with better communication, coordination and technology, the state can smooth the path for the enormous undertaking ahead, as vaccines are eventually administered to the general public in the latter parts of Phase 2 and Phase 3.
It’s hard to stay patient when lives are at stake.