Inexcusable chaos in the delivery of COVID vaccine to Idahoans over the age of 65 began over the weekend.
Those who tried to schedule a shot described the process as like trying to get tickets to a Rolling Stones concert, a race’s Le Mans-style start or being in a movie theater when someone yells “Fire!”
A virtual rush ensued online, on the phone and in person. Appointments filled up within minutes and vaccine providers were overwhelmed by the frustration of those who didn’t get a time.
The luckiest of the 288,617 Idahoans over the age of 65 sat with fingers poised over a computer mouse and clicked the “Submit” button early Monday when appointments opened. Others signed up over the weekend spurred by rumors that some slots had opened early.
In the rush, age and condition didn’t matter. Most providers didn’t allow the oldest of the old to go first. People applied for spots frantically. Every vaccine site had different ways to sign up.
No one communicated well. It was a shameful digital Darwinian free-for-all.
Idaho government officials fired the starting gun for the rush despite the fact that nearly half of the state’s long-term care facilities had not begun to vaccinate residents.
Idaho has received fewer vaccine doses per capita than all but South Carolina. Yet officials allowed the crowd to push aside our oldest and most vulnerable citizens.
Blame the Trump administration’s poor planning for the chaos. Except for fast-tracking vaccines, it handed off all other responsibilities to states with no funding or experience in such a massive undertaking.
Idaho got the hot potato handoff and handed it off again to its underfunded health districts, private medical systems and small pharmacies.
Idaho may not have much vaccine, but there’s more than enough shame to go around.
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