Open Thread Update: Vaccination Follies

Seems like I got a lot of company when I got my vaccination – but only after a lot of hoohah.

In our informal poll, almost half – 48 percent – of the nearly 300 respondents reported hours, days and even weeks of stress-filled effort before finally landing a spot somewhere.  One respondent in the NYC area waited two months for a spot – and only got one after a friend in far-off Colorado was able to find and book an appointment for her.

“I spent weeks getting an appointment. I was in group 1C. Daytime, afternoon, late nights, you name it, I kept trying. I was registered at multiple sites but always arrived at the site too late online to grab an appointment.”

-Brenda H. 

Some 25 percent said it was easy…they were the lucky ones…

“Here in Indiana, the process was both organized and streamlined. A person either went online or called a 3-digit phone number.”

-Cynthia R. 

Almost as many – 24 percent – said they hadn’t gotten the shot yet, and thankfully, only 3 percent had their appointment cancelled because the facility ran out of vaccine.

A readers’ tip

Harriet S. offered this advice: “Facebook groups are springing up left and right to connect folks. Start by opening the “groups” tab, then type “help booking vaccine” and a local effort will most likely come up.”

Reactions to the shot varied, from a big ‘nothingburger” to some localized soreness at the injection site to some prolonged fatigue.

And just in case…

If you know anyone who needs the vaccine and is having trouble because of connectivity issues – which particularly impacts low-income and minority populations:  OATS is launching Aging Connected to help one million older people get online; if you know anyone who needs connectivity, tell them about it and give them this number to call for more information:  1-877-745-1930. 

Meanwhile, we’ll keep the comments and the poll open so you can send us your thoughts.

How hard was it for you to get the Covid-19 vaccine?


Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send your suggestions for Open Threads to her at




42 responses to “Open Thread Update: Vaccination Follies

  1. I signed up with several sites in February and have yet to hear from them here in Montgomery County, PA?. The rollout of the vaccines has been absolutely horrible. It is incredibly inefficient and this in the middle of a pandemic with several dangerous variants making an appearance. Hopefully things will get better soon but why don’t we follow the lead of other countries and have vaccinators coming to people’s homes and giving them shots? Not everyone has the means to travel to a far location on a moment’s notice and in some instances, worse yet, being told there is no vaccine left or their appointment was never recorded. Everyone should get shots without much inconvenience and it has to be soon.

  2. There were five of us who kept in touch regarding our ability to secure an appointment. The minute one got one, the information was shared. I was able to get mine earlier than the first woman in the link. Now I have the second but will still of course be very careful.

    My daughter and grandson were just diagnosed with Covid. They are home but she is afraid for me to visit because of my age. This is very hard as I am so worried.

    1. I spent a month online at various times of the day after I was eligible only to see there are no appointments available at this time. Try again later. Finally a friend hooked me up with a vaccine hunter who was able to get me an appointment in a neighboring county about 1/2 hour drive from my home a week after I was able to contact her. I drove to a Walgreens in Frederick. That part of the process was a piece of cake. I had a bit of a sore arm for a day or two, was tired the first day only and a few days later I did have chills that went away. I get my second dose next week and will be fully vaccinated 2 weeks after that.

  3. I spent weeks getting an appointment. I was in group 1C. Daytime, afternoon, late nights, you name it, I kept trying. I was registered at multiple sites but always arrived at the site too late online to grab an appointment. Beyond exasperating! Finally, I got one. It required driving an hour away to a mass site at the M& T Bank stadium in Baltimore. I received the one dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Can’t say that I experienced any notable side effects.

    I must say that as horrible as it was to get an appointment, the day itself went extremely well. I was out in a little over than an hour. It was very well organized. Everyone was efficient, helpful and overall informative . The National Guard personnel were exceptional in asking and meeting needs, including shuttling the elderly and disabled from and to parking.

    Very happy for the “one and done.”

  4. After weeks of checking on-line, Walgreen’s in my neighborhood in Queens began giving the vaccine. I checked and went through the process every day and one morning I lucked in. I received my first vaccine shot two weeks ago and will have the second on March 24. Slight pain the next day and sleepy for about a week with the first. Keep at it everyday.

    1. I was fortunate a local church in association with a food bank sponsored a vaccination drive. I didn’t have to make an appt.They got my name from the food bank called me and asked if I wanted the vaccine.I said yes. It was set up as a drive thru. Afterwards I had some soreness for about 5 days in my left arm but that is all. I go for my final dose the end of March.

      1. This is comical. This site is only about politics while pretending, of course, otherwise.
        When I see, for example, a recommended book about anti-White racism, I might (!) change my view.

  5. When people 75 were eligible, I spent two days getting an appointment for my husband and finally got him an appointment at Mt. Sinai in Manhattan. The next day, people 65 and up were eligible and I spent hours trying to get an appointment for myself. For some reason, no matter what I did, the computer entered by husbands name not mine. The day came for his appointment and I just went with him. I told the person at the entrance that I was having trouble booking an appointment and was told if there was extra vaccines, they would give me one and they did! I decided I would prefer trying to get the vaccine, even if I were turned away rather than struggle with my computer!

    1. There were a few bumps along the way but not too bad, Most of us realize anything State or federal governments have a hand in do not go smoothly. I have not had any issues with the two shots thus far so I am happy that has gone well. The proof will be in the pudding.

    2. Great tactic! I signed up to get vaccine from Mt. Sinai 2 mos. ago and have never heard from them! Finally asked a contact there to take my name off their list because a friend out in Colo. offered to secure an appt. for me via internet and did so at NYCity’s Javits Ctr, –which was “a gas,” and more convenient for me than uptown Mt. Sinai “mothership” anyway! Looked like logistics at massive Javits exhibit hall were run by the U,S, Army: young men in Army fatigues politely & efficiently escorted us one by one through the vast hall to get registered & show our writen “invitations”and then on o another station to get the vaccine shot plus simple snacks and a small bottle of water at one of several stations set up there, and finally on to a n array of folding chairs to be observed while “recovering”– (conveniently near bathooms). No muss nor fuss but very efficient.

      1. Yup I got my shots at Javits Center. I read about individuals complaining about waiting time, etc. Give me a break. The first time I went, no waiting time. Second time, there was. I was meant a lot of people were getting the shots. And certainly the wait was worth it. The medical people that worked there and the National Guard were wonderful.

  6. We live in Western NC. We called to get an appointment. Instead we were given a number. When our number comes up, they will call us. If no answer, they go to the next one. They will call once more before the end of the day. They gave us the phone number that would call us. My wife and I put their number in the contact list so we don’t miss them. Still waiting. No both of us are in our 70’s. I don’t understand.

  7. I didn’t have too much trouble as I am a non-Covid facing health care worker, but my partner and siblings weren’t getting anywhere once the over 65 group was eligible. My 37 year old daughter found a way to “snag” appointments online with the help of a Facebook Vaccine Hunters group. Now we have all received at least one dose.

  8. the survey for accessing the covid 19 vaccine doesn’t cover what many people had to go through to get the vaccine. It wasn’t a couple of hours or a couple of days. It was weeks and hours and hours of work online , repetitive
    questions answered over and over on eligibility. I finally got my appt’s on Feb.. 24th after at least a month of trying. Why wasn’t this scenario in your survey?

    1. I agree. It wasn’t just days or weeks of trying to get a COVID vaccine. It was trying different websites, not getting through, getting through and being told there were no appointments, getting through and answering all the questions and then being told there were no more appointments. After checking various websites for weeks with no results, I finally got on a list that would keep your name and email address and would contact me. I finally got an appointment for February 23, 2021.

      1. We are limited by the conventions of our polls to craft a limited number of questions; they can’t account for every situation. However, one of the questions has been updated to refer to weeks or longer to get the vaccine. There’s no way for the polls themselves to include individual stories, which is why we ask for them in the comments. Thanks for the note.

  9. After many days of frustration filling out multiple NYC, NYS, and pharmacy forms, I got an email from a hospital where I’d been a patient stating the vaccine was available in small quantities. I called immediately and my husband and I got our 1st doses yesterday. Here’s a tip I found after I’d made our appointments: Facebook groups are springing up left and right to connect folks. Start by opening the “groups” tab, then type “help booking vaccine” and a local effort will most likely come up.

  10. I went online in mid-January after they announced that my age group was eligible for the vaccine. On the vaccine finder page I found a Rite Aid store in my neighborhood that had open appointments. I registered and made an appointment (I thought) until I showed up at the store to find that my name wasn’t on the list. They refused to give me the shot and were rude about it. Back to the drawing board. This time it was much harder to find a place with open appointments–probably because more people had just become eligible. After spending many hours on the computer that included following a bunch of false leads requiring useless registrations for “waiting lists,” I finally found that the Javits Center had open appointments in March (by now it was the beginning of February). I’m finally getting my first shot on March 9th and my husband on March 12th. The way things are set up we couldn’t even make our appointments together. I won’t rest easy until that needle is actually in my arm!

  11. I had no trouble getting an appointment for my COVID-19 shot. I was able to get it on my first try. I think it was the local news kept everyone in formed on how to either call or get the right website to get on to. They were giving the shots at our Community Center , and it was very organized. I was given a card with my next appointment for the 2nd shot. I was very pleased with the whole thing.

  12. I received my first shot, quite by chance.
    I became eligible in mid-January, but so did half the population of Virginia, some 4.4 million people. I registered online with the local health district, and then about 3 weeks later I was told that a local CVS would be handling some shots.
    Of course, I had no luck. I started to get mighty irritated. I dug into data on the state’s Covid dashboard. Rough calculation: I had about a 6 percent chance of getting one of the 129,000 first-dose vaccines the state was receiving every week. At that rate it would take 6 months for the state to vaccinate Sure, the state was expecting to get “more” vaccines, “soon”– but how many more, when? I decided to save my mental health: stop searching and check in every 2 weeks or so, waiting for the situation to improve. It was that, or murder someone.
    The night before the big ice storm, a friend who is a grocery-store worker called to tell me the local vax site was vaccinating all eligible people. They knew they’d be closed the following day.
    And so, quite by chance, and by luck, I got my first dose.
    It shouldn’t be that way. But it is.
    It is a mathematical problem: there are far more people eligible, and who NEED it, than there are vials of vaccine.
    I hope that going forward, we (the nation) will have serious conversations about the (expensive) upgrades our medical-care delivery system needs.

  13. I originally had an appointment with Mt. Sinai West and they canceled it less than a week before I was scheduled. While trying to find another appointment I received a phone call from my local Duane Reade just across the street. “Can you come in tomorrow,” the pharmacist asked. Three weeks later I got the second shot. Only reaction was a sore arm for a day.

  14. I heard about the availability of 500 doses on a Saturday afternoon (1/16/21) around 1 pm on the radio, WINS. Doses were up at the NYCHA Polo Grounds: 500 for Saturday & another 500 for Sunday. I immediately hopped on the subway, got off at 155th St. I missed that day’s allotment but got an appointment for Sunday.

    Got home, called a friend who went up and got a shot that day! We both had our double shots by Valentine’s Day (& cancelled our online appointments for March).

  15. Boulder County is very well organized. My doctor’s office called and asked if I wanted the vaccine. When I said “OF COURSE”, she walked me through the sign up procedure and I had an appointment in less than 5 minutes. The appointments are made at 15-min. intervals. There are many check-in stations as well as shot stations. They make the 2nd appointment before your leave. In and out in 30 mins. which included the 15 min. wait afterwards. My husband’s 2nd shot was postponed a week because they did not receive the expected Moderna vaccine due to the weather delays in delivery around the country.

    1. Covid actually killed the ability for Americans to think, use logic and common sense. What Covid ultimately decimated was the economy, the working middle class and millions of jobs. It destroyed forever millions of small businesses, human connection, love and compassion.Even more barbaric was the cruelty of our elderly loved ones dying alone without family being close.

      Now those same mask-wearing American lemmings are standing in line hoping and praying for an untested vaccine to be shot into their arms, not once, but twice.

      1. Call people lemmings, implying logic as we search for vaccines IS cruel of you. We’re still wearing masks; we survived being alone, not getting sick. I’m 68, I survived disaster: “let go” from 2 jobs on March 11th, 2020. Received my vaccine 5 days ago. Logically washing my hands since 3 yrs old.Tada!

      2. I absolutely agree with all you wrote, Barbara. My reliance on my common sense and instincts have saved my hide many times. I, too, am alarmed at the majority lemming-like herd response of peoples trust in untested chemicals inserted into their bodies and all of the abusive, horrifying mandated behaviors that are “accepted” and endured. I am not surprised, This is just my usual alarm and anguish of human nature.
        Thank you for expressing the real world so succinctly.

  16. I am both a senior and a World Trade Center respiratory patient. I made 47 calls and emails trying to determine our position on line for the vaccine, if any. Finding out nothing led me to the conclusion that there is NO planning being done for the WTC patient. I started looking for the vaccine on 1/15 when I became eligible on the basis of age. I used both City and State websites, and also visited the websites of local private hospitals. I was given phantom appointments that disappeared before I could receive any confirmation. It was not until a neighbor told me to use the State’s 833 area code phone referral line that I succeeded, after 10 tries. As I write this, the World Trade Center Health Program has still not received a supply of vaccine.

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