Gotten your shot?

CORONAVIRUS

Have you gotten your COVID-19 vaccination yet? Are you in the right tier that is currently eligible to be vaccinated?

If you are, how hard was it to get your shot? Did you spend a lot of time online or on the phone trying to get an appointment? Contacting county health departments and hospitals and assorted clinics?

Did you need anybody — tech savvy kids or grandkids or neighbors or friends — to help you navigate the appointment process?

How many places did you have to contact to get your shot? How far did you have to go to get jabbed? The other side of town or the other side of the state? How frustrated did you get?

Or are you still waiting? And checking multiple places every day to see if any appointments have opened up?

Tell The Local Reporter your story about trying to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. Comment below or email us at editor@thelocalreporter.press. Maybe your story will help someone else figure out a way to finally get that vaccination appointment and that stick in the arm.

Or maybe you’ll just be able to vent.

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11 Comments on "Gotten your shot?"

  1. Gabriele H. Miniter | February 7, 2021 at 10:31 pm | Reply

    So far, attempting to even get one’s name on a list has been a nightmare. UNC phone and online inform the caller that they can now make appointments, give a long verbal message and then inform the caller that they are not taking appointments. The same is true on their Website.
    Duke took our name about a month ago and has informed us it will be several weeks before we can get a shot. My husband and I are both elderly, 79 and 83 respectively and we both have pre-existing conditions. It makes no difference. Walgreens requires complicated registering and is no better. The roll-out of this program has been a disaster.

  2. Scheduling my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, online, required persistence. But after that, WOW!! I have nothing but praise for the enormous, meticulously organized, operation I found at UNC Friday Center! It was raining when I arrived, ca. 20 minutes early. But I was immediately admitted, given some paperwork, and directed to one of two lines. I stood in line (masked and standing 6 feet apart) about 5 minutes before being directed to one of many, many, tables where vaccines were administered. What an operation!! An MD, the very personable Dr. Anna Felix, administered my dose 1 (Moderna). Afterward, another MD escorted me to a large auditorium where, as a safety precaution, we were seated awhile for “observation” by multiple healthcare professionals (adverse reactions the concern … an ambulance awaiting, on the back side of the building, “just in case”). ‘Best of all, no worries about getting scheduled for my 2nd dose within recommended time frames — UNC scheduled mine and gave me my vaccine “card” before I left! Finally, several Chapel Hill Transit bus routes serve the Friday Center, offering a free transportation option to many folks. Wonderful experience!!!

  3. It was impossible. Websites were crashing or basically nonfunctional or designed with some bizarre labyrinthine process, and if sites were up there were no available appointment times and/or no vaccine: “Try again later.” I tried yourshot, UNC mychart, Duke mychart, Friday Center, Wake Med, Rex, and both websites and phones to Wake county health department, Durham county health department, Orange county health department, Chatham county health department, Alamance county health department. Nada. A friend shared a link he had to a website that was still showing available time slots but—confusing—it stated (after you had labored through the whole process) that if you have used a shared link you would be turned away at the door. Nonetheless I got a reminder two days before my supposed appointment that seemed to indicate I indeed did have an appointment—but by that time I had gotten my first vaccination (process, see below) and I spent an hour online looking for a way to cancel the supposed appointment, with no luck. I actually got through to a real live person at that department but she couldn’t figure out how to cancel an appointment either.

    How did I get my first vaccination? A friend of a friend of a friend whose daughter is a nurse at a hospital not far away who called her mom to say they had vials left over at the end of the day and did she know anyone in the approved groups that needed the vaccine. I was sitting in a chair at that hospital 20 minutes later.

    To date, the only entity I’ve heard back from was a very professional we-haven’t-forgotten-you email from the Orange County health department.

  4. Celia Baitinger | February 8, 2021 at 10:36 am | Reply

    I started trying to get my name on the Orange County Health Department vaccine list in early january. Their system seemed a bit wonky at first, but eventually (about a week ago) I received an email confirming that my name was on the waiting list for the vaccine. I also tried booking through Duke MyChart when they began offering the vaccine in late January – after 50 or more tries over a period of a week I finally snagged an appointment for mid-February at Duke. (Duke also keeps a waiting list in parallel with their MyChart signup, so it’d be worth checking that out.) Then, a friend told me she’d just gotten an appointment at UNC through http://www.yourshot.org (a website I had also tried to find an appointment on dozens of times with no success). I logged on and managed to snag an appointment for the next day in Smithfield. Although I live in chapel hill, I was happy to make the trip to Smithfield to get the vaccine the next day, and I’m currently scheduled to get the second shot in mid-February.

  5. Charles Humble | February 8, 2021 at 5:22 pm | Reply

    Following my wife’s lead, I volunteered to help at the vaccination site at the Park & Ride lot on Estes Drive run by Orange County Health Department. We helped with traffic control so clinical licensing was not an issue (although they do need those who can give the shots). At the end of the day the managers give any available vaccines to those who have helped. Got my 2nd Pfizer shot Saturday. Sunday was not bad but it wasn’t fun, either. By Monday I was OK.

  6. Duke has my 72-year-old self on their wait list, so any month now I should have a turn at it. Walgreen’s sign-in process starts this week but so far hasn’t been accessible. I have insurance and am in good health – I really hesitate to fight for a Health Dept. spot, they should be saved for people whose options and health aren’t as good as mine.

  7. Excerpts of letter to sent to NC DHHS:

    Included is a timely article from the ‘’Washington Post’’ that I hope you will read at your leisure. It expresses my sentiment with a few exceptions: I am 72 yrs old; I do not use social media, do not have family nearby and live in NC. I realize just how naive I am because I truly believed that the authorities of my state and county would support and protect those of us most vulnerable to Covid.

    This has not been my experience. Just this week, my neighbors, 62 and 55 years old and in great health, drove to Fayetteville for the vaccination event at one of the high schools. One told the authorities that she was ‘’thinking about’’ being a volunteer at a nursing home, and the other person told them that she sells insurance to ”old people.” No questions were asked, and they were vaccinated. This is unconscionable on so many levels.

    I also realize that as far as NC DHHS and public health policy, it is the number of vaccines administered, notwithstanding age or chronic health problems. But you say, ”However, even with using every dose we have quickly, we do know we have such a limited supply and there is still not enough to go around.”

    As long as people who are not in Group 1 or 2 are able to butt in line and get their vaccine, you’re right, there won’t be enough to go around. It seems to me that all restrictions on getting the vaccine should be lifted since it is already a farce and a complete free for all.

    The way this vaccine roll out has been handled, it is very clear to me that once again, those of us 65 and older with chronic illness; aka: ”old people” — the most vulnerable — are left to fend for themselves. And most of us can’t.

    If you don’t have access to the ”underground” to find where vaccines are available, you’re lost (for example, heard (too late) that there were vaccines at Cedar Grove Health Center in Orange County; yet, the same day OCHD sent a message that there were no vaccines).

    You can stay on the phone only so long and then, either be disconnected and have to start over; or, told there are no appointments and please call back. You can only do that for so many days without giving up, especially when you hear about people with no ties to Group 1 or 2 getting their vaccines — taking someone’s place who really needs it.

    Please share this with the Secretary and the Governor. Not that anything can be done at this point because it is too late, but I think they are too removed from the reality of what’s happening and focusing on numbers. Or, perhaps, it is not important to them.

    But also please know that I write for many people who are not just frustrated or infuriated. We share a sense of defeat.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-vaccine-appointment-system-failure/2021/02/04/c7a5c300-6662-11eb-886d-5264d4ceb46d_story.html

  8. I was contacted by UNC Health, which is my health care provider. I had not reached out to them or tried to get on their waiting list (in fact, they may not have a waiting list). Their message invited me to call to schedule an appointment. I was able to get my first shot the following day at the Friday Center. I know there are many who are frustrated about the vaccination rollout, but UNC seems to be doing this the right way. The process at the Friday Center was astonishingly efficient and safe, with friendly and even joyful staff. — KKP

  9. I had a covid vaccine appointment at a nursing home in Greensboro, where my mother lives on January 9th. I made my younger sister take it because she needed to fly to California for a family emergency, and I knew I would feel better knowing she had some coverage besides her mask. I then got on 5 vaccine appointment lists; Orange County, UNC, Duke,Walgreen and Cone Hospital in Greensboro.
    Of these only UNC won’t notify you when vaccines are available. You have to check the website, see shots are available and try to get an appointment. I began checking the website at least every hour, often more. I did this for 29 days.

    The UNC website said they usually get vaccine in between 1 and 5 pm Monday through Friday, but I checked morning, noon and night. All 3 if my sisters had been vaccinated as had most of my friends. I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit my mom until I was vaccinated, and I wanted and needed to because the almost year of lockdown in her nursing home, due to covid, had been hard on her.
    On Tuesday morning, February 9th at 4:30 am my phone rang. It was a friend who said UNC had vaccine now and I should check their website. I did, but it said the vaccines were gone. I called my friend and told her. She rechecked and said on her computer there were still appointments available. I gave her my information over the phone and she got me an appointment for the next day!
    I don’t know why my computer said no available shots when hers said there were.
    I asked her why she was up at 4:30. She said she couldn’t sleep and had been checking for appointments for me when she could so she checked for me when she was awake at 4am. What a good friend.
    Walgreens notified me the next day that they had available vaccine. I never heard from anywhere else. I got my first vaccine and a sore arm on Wednesday, but no other side effects.
    It is a frustrating, computer driven system. The one time I called Duke to get on their cancellation list I held for 57 minutes. You need a computer or smart phone and the ability to frequently check the websites which puts anyone without a computer or smart phone at a disadvantage. The ability to check websites several times an hour is not possible in many places of employment. The system is not equitable to many, including the elderly who may not be computer savvy. Having a friend who helps makes a difference. kapbrd

  10. My husband and I are 71 and 68, respectively, and in very good health, so I was a bit nonchalant about trying to get a vaccine. Let others in dire need sign up first, I thought. But when I realized that the rocky roll-out might mean it would be weeks or months before I got a slot, I got serious about it . My husband managed to snag a spot in Siler City through the UNC Hospitals portal; a 45 minute drive from our home outside Mebane. I signed up with UNC and Duke and kept checking for openings, to no avail. Alamance County, next door, was still only signing up 75-and-older. Finally a friend told me how she found a slot for her husband, so I tried that. I called the Durham County Health Dept., got a busy signal several times, and finally got through to voicemail, which asked me to hold. I put the phone on “speaker”, and every few minutes heard the recorded bilingual message to keep holding, which was kind of useful for my very rusty command of the Spanish language.

    Instead of stressing impatiently, I spent the next hour painting and jumping on my trampoline (not at the same time). Finally a friendly voice came on the line and voila! I was signed up. I was offered a choice of two Durham locations and chose the health department. The next week I arrived there, proud of myself for not only being five minutes early, but for having arrived at an unfamiliar destination in Durham without making a single wrong turn. At check-in, I was calmly informed that—oops!—much of the DCHD’s vaccine allotment had been sent to Southern High School. In my politest voice, I said, “and no-one knew this in time to let me know?” It seems they made “every effort” to call and email those affected, but I seemed to have slipped through the cracks somehow.

    It was then that I had to make a choice, and thankfully chose to not “kill the messenger”. She had surely already gotten an earful from others before I showed up. I realized that everyone is doing their best with what is surely an unprecedented challenge. I was given a vaccine appointment at Southern High in five days, which went smoothly and efficiently and was received with gratitude.

    — Margret Mueller, Mebane NC

  11. David Schwartz | March 20, 2021 at 12:09 pm | Reply

    I learned from a friend a week ago that the Moore County Health Department in Carthage was offering the vaccine to all adults of any age. I called Tuesday to make an appointment and drove down to receive my first dose the following day. There were no lines, no waiting, and I was in and out in about 20 minutes, including 15 minutes of post-injection observation. If you are not yet eligible in Orange County and are able to get yourself to Carthage, about an hour’s drive away, you might want to call the Moore County Health Department and try to schedule an appointment.

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