By Suzanne Sparrow Watson


As you may have read, Arizona is the COVID hotspot of the world. Yep – you read that right – we’re #1 not just in the U.S., but in the world! This week our health care professionals have warned that if things don’t improve, they are going to invoke the triage experts.   Or as they are colloquially known, death panels.  My friends and I decided in addition to avoiding COVID, we need to avoid a broken hip, as some death panel may figure it’s easier to shoot us than fix us.  I admit that I have not been taking this latest news well.  For a variety of reasons, we have not travelled more than 20 miles from our home in almost a year.  So you can imagine our relief when Arizona began vaccinating older citizens last week.  I am not eligible, but my husband was and we were able to get an appointment last Thursday.  Typical of any government-run program, the state has managed to make registering as complicated as possible.

Here’s how I imagine the staff meeting went when they designed the enrollment system:

Manager:  So, we are going to start vaccinating the general public in Arizona.  We’re starting with people age 75 and above.  Tell me about the enrollment system you’ve designed.

Idiot #1:  We’ve got this!  Our systems works on the Chrome and Firefox browsers so it’s very accessible.

Manager:  But the vast majority of older people either use either an Apple or Microsoft  product.

Idiot #2:  No worries – we’ve instructed them to download either the Chrome or Firefox browser.

Manager:  Ummmm, okay.  But most of these people have no idea what a browser is and downloading is something they do with their dentures every night.  They think Chrome is what’s on their wheels and Firefox describes the hot number with the boa that walked into the bingo room last week.   Well, maybe someone can help them download the browsers onto their tablet or phone.

Idiot #3:  Oh no – the site isn’t compatible with tablets and phones.  They have to be use a desktop.

Manager:  Let’s hope this goes well.  I assume you have enough server capacity to handle the demand for enrollment?

Idiot #4:  Oh yes, we’ve got plenty of room and backup capacity.

Manager:  So once they get on the site they just sign up?

Idiot #5:  No.  First they create an account, then they have to retrieve a verification code from their email, then come back in and verify their account.  Then they go to the site and search day by day for an opening because we figured it was just to much work to put a calendar up showing “next available” appointments.

Okay – that’s my imagination but I don’t think I’m far off.  As anyone who has the sense that God gave geese might have predicted, the systems crashed on the first morning and the “help” line wait time was over three hours.  The statement from the Department of Health is that they didn’t anticipate the number of people who would be signing up.  Really?  We’ve been one of the worst hit states since the pandemic began, we have a large vulnerable population (over 75) and they have all been cooped up at home for almost a year.   Which is why I have so rudely characterized the people working on this as idiots.

It came to light yesterday that the state used Google to design the website.  That goes a long way toward explaining why they designated Chrome as the go-to browser.  It is shameful that they are using this event to steer people to their product.  Luckily, after much hue and cry, they finally enabled people to use Safari.  Silicon Valley has spent a lot of time lately talking about how they are improving the diversity in their workplace.  Well, here’s an idea – why don’t they put someone over the age of 65 to work on a program for people over the age of 65?  Now, there’s a concept.

In any event, my husband received his first shot last week so we are one step closer to getting out of jail.  We’re going to spend some time this week planning our summer vacation trips.  Somehow it feels like we’re one step closer to normal.  Hooray!!!


9 comments on “THE “GET OUT OF JAIL FREE” CARD

  1. Hello Suzanne, Thank you for the story on trying to attain a COVID-19 vaccine. I am glad you husband finally received one. We are still waiting in California. I found your posting From A Bird’s Eye View because of the Memorial Day stories about young soldiers dying in Vietnam. I knew Jim Gribbon at Pleasant Hill Intermediate School in Pleasant Hill, California. He was a wonderful person and student. Thank you for remembering him.

    • Alyce, thank you so much for your nice note. I hope you can receive the vaccine soon – such a strange time we’re in. I didn’t realize Jim had lived in Pleasant Hill before Novato. He was such a good guy…really such a tragedy that we lost him so young.
      Best, Suzanne

  2. OMG that was funny and so right on point! I just got my shot today. I squeaked in to a public hospital site (Parkland) as a new patient setting up my own chart and scheduling my own appt. Then Parkland caught onto their glitch that allowed that to happen and deleted the COVID appt site. They honored those that snuck in the back door! My experience was incredibly smooth. It took me about the same amount of time to drive down there and back (about 25 minutes each way). I arrived at 11:32 am and finished the whole process at 12:20 including my mandatory reaction wait time. I was checking out the paramedics to see how cute they were. That would decide how I felt! Another funny thing it the set up and the multiple cones to allow for really long lines. There were none but you had to navigate the maze anyway to get to the cheese ie shot! I told the lady I was ready for my Senior DMV driving test as I did not knock over one cone! Got to see the humor right?

    • Sharon – that is hilarious!!! I’m going for my first shot on Tuesday and I’m hoping I pass the “driver’s test” too!!! And I’m praying for the cute paramedics – maybe I’ll fake some symptoms just so they can hover over me ; )))

  3. We have been unable to schedule appointments although we both qualify!
    It’s ridiculous how difficult they make it!

    • Janet- try going through Honor Health. They seem to have some appointments. VERY cumbersome process by the state. Good luck!!

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