I’ve landed a Covid vaccine appointment. I’ve been eligible for a couple of weeks now, age-wise, but so have a million other Massachusetts denizens, all angling for the 50k or so doses available each week. Our high-tech state did a remarkably feeble job of creating an online registration service, so there was no way to just queue up in an orderly fashion. The game was to find out when and where appointments were opening up, and to jump online that very instant to see if you could score one before your, um, neighbor.
Making the game a little easier were a couple of unofficial sites, created by thoughtful coders in their spare time, that scour the various official sites, looking for openings and then posting them in one place. You still had to play, Ready, jump!, but at least it gave you half a chance. I happened to check one at 4 a.m., as I was heading to bed—and discovered that CVS in my area had acquired some vaccine! I got on their site and refreshed the scheduling page off and on through the night. Finally, at 8:08 a.m. after a largely sleepless night, I staggered to my computer and —to my wonder—scored an appointment at a nearby CVS, for this coming weekend. And a second in three weeks. End zone dance!
Postscript: I have to acknowledge some mixed feelings about this, as I am reminded daily by the news that we don’t exactly have equitable distribution of the vaccines. Not enough doses are reaching the lowest-income folk who are being most hurt by the virus. My taking or not taking a slot in a well-off neighborhood would be unlikely to have any effect on that. But still, I am aware that I’m getting something of a privileged advantage. Here’s a tip of the hat to the many volunteers who are stepping up to help folks get appointments who are not able to play the online game themselves!