THE RECENT VACCINE rollout has already caused a negative reaction.
Nothing gets folks riled up like a taxpayer-funded program that doesn’t meet their standards. And anecdotal evidence says that a bunch of folks aren’t happy with their place in line for the covid vaccination being administered by the county health department.
Actually, many of them didn’t even get a place in line. Unanswered phones and a clunky website meant that some of the people trying to make an appointment were shut out from the process altogether. Frustrating? You bet.
Area resident Verne Wilhelm is not satisfied with the county health department’s handling of the rollout and voiced what others might be thinking.
“No appointments. Nobody to answer questions. How could you screw up so completely?”
That seems a little harsh, yet representative of some apparent dissatisfaction. But is it fair?
We contacted outgoing county medical director Dr. Bob Lorinser for his defense of the health department. For example… did the process live up to the standards we would expect?
“The COVID vaccine rollout has met no one’s “standards” since everyone who wants it wanted it yesterday,” says Lorinser.
“Could we have done better? Sure! More resources, more staff, more advanced notice from MDHHS, etc., would have improved what we did,” Lorinser said. “We spend hours daily asking ourselves what we can do differently and how. Not an easy task with limited resources.”
Blaming limited resources? No, Dr. Lorinser isn’t copping out. There really is only so much of everything, including… the vaccine and time. So there are limitations. But does that excuse the perceived inefficiency?
Judge for yourself. According to Lorinser, here’s what happened yesterday, the first day of the new inoculation phase.
“A total of 845 appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination were made this morning. Although some technical difficulties were experienced in making the scheduling link “live,” available appointments were filled very quickly. The majority of the 517 appointments available for assignment through the web portal were taken within 30 seconds of going live. The remaining 328 appointments were completed via the MCHD phone system.”
In other words… they scheduled every appointment they have vaccine for. The fact that so many people were left out, and left hanging by a lack of communication… well, that’s what gets the posters posting.
Some changes to the process under consideration include pre-registration of those in the active phase, preferably online, to minimize the kind of congestion that occurred with the first release. And then, through a random number generator, select the fortunate ones who get the next appointments. Everybody else? Maybe next time.
“Perfect… nope. Fair, transparent, equitable-YES,” says Lorinser. Let’s hope he’s on to something.
Since these things seem to be the ultimate in “subject to change,” we recommend going to the health department’s website for the most current info. It looks like the site has already become a little more user-friendly.
Click here to visit the site.
As expected, Dr. Lorinser has been forthcoming with his recognition of the situation, and his anticipation of improvements.
It’s hard to do something perfect when you’ve never done it before. Even for smart people.
We didn’t get any comment when we asked the doctor about his recently announced resignation. Fair enough. Go ahead and stay focused on the task at hand. We’ll thank you in advance for that.