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On Monday January 25, 2021 I got my first round of COVID-19 vaccine. My wife has been quite ill with the virus for the past month, but has not had to be hospitalized. The presence of clear symptoms makes her ineligible for inoculation at this time. A few other family members have also tested positive with non-lethal symptoms. My family is quite large and I feel that we've been very fortunate. Although I have been my wife's caregiver and have almost certainly been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 virus, I've had no symptoms. With vaccination being such a critical priority in the US, my goal is to put into words here a few observations about what seem to be potential pitfalls. This is from a personal perspective.

The news that the vaccine was now available in our small town came through Facebook. An individual, who regularly posts updates on COVID statistics for our County, advised that the local Walgreens had a limited supply of Moderna vaccine available and provided a link to apply for vaccination. I followed the link and determined that I might be eligible due to operating a child care business out of our home. In Arkansas, my age doesn't qualify me at this time for inoculation because I'm not 70 or older (yet). I filled out the online application, which then popped up a page stating, in bright green letters, "Vaccination Recommended"

My wife also printed out the hard copy application that would need to be presented at the pharmacy. I had chosen a time when I could get "jabbed" and everything looked to be all set. The paperwork was very similar to the paperwork that one must fill out when visiting a clinic or hospital for medical evaluation/diagnosis. The section that qualified me for the vaccine was the education part. Teachers and child care providers were considered front line workers and were therefore eligible without having to meet the age criteria. I felt cautiously optimistic about the chances of actually getting immunized. The online questionnaire should provide for a quick in and out experience since my information was already provided to the Walgreens corporation and, presumably, to our local pharmacy.

I showed up at the Walgreens thirty minutes early, which was recommended when I chose an appointment time online.. The girl at the counter said, "May I help you?" and I told her why I was there and handed her the application. She looked at it and asked if I worked at a school or medical facility and I told her about the child care business out of our home. She asked me to wait a minute and I heard her ask another employee about something. "I'll let Glenn handle that," was the overheard reply. She went and showed my application to the younger of the two pharmacists on staff that day. There was brief conversation and Glenn came up to where I was waiting. "I'm sorry, but the government won't let us vaccinate you unless you are 70 or older," he said. I must have looked puzzled (I was) because he then asked if I worked at a school or hospital. I said, "Child care?". "Do you operate a child care business out of your home?" "Yes," I said. I was thinking, Hasn't this already been communicated and acknowledged? Twice?, but I didn't say that out loud.

"I'll take your word for it," Glenn said.

The rest of the process was quick and easy. The older of the two pharmacists, Harold, stuck my arm and I was on my way. The thing that I'd like to rant about a little bit is that, although the system was in place to provide information in both directions, (from me to the provider and from them to me), it only worked in one direction. The person (Glenn) making the decision whether I could be vaccinated, or not, didn't benefit from my filling out the online questionnaire, nor did he benefit from me providing the same data to the POS worker. One sees the same wasted effort way too often when accessing medical care. You fill out the same forms on every visit to a clinic or hospital. You tell the person who checks you in what you're there for. You then tell the nurse or technician the same information. Then you tell the doctor the same stuff, if and when you actually get to see one.

In my humble opinion, this is the weak link in the chain vis-a-vis getting the required number of vaccinations into people's arms to quell the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA. The current administration is going to get the supply of vaccine. It will be shipped to all fifty states and, for the most part, distributed to where it is needed. But the choke point will be at that last step where, with all of our technology, we still drop the ball on the individual level. In my case, I knew the people that I was dealing with. There were no lines of people waiting. Even though I was baffled when Glenn told me that, in spite of my establishing that I was eligible ahead of time, it was "no go", I had the presence of mind to ask one more time. "Child care?" turned out to be the magic words. Speed is of the essence here. Many thousands of lives depend on getting this right. The weak link is the broken down communications at the grass roots level and I just got lucky. Providing the information is useless if those making decisions don't get to see it. At least that's what I think.

I've been working on Radial Drift a bit here and there. I can't remember if I've talked about it on here before. I probably have, but I'll give you a few-sentences-rundown. It's a hard science fiction novel that's in the works, in which the protagonist progressively loses her humanity. It borders on cyberpunk but it's more cyber than punk. We've got upgraded people, androids, and humans living on mars. Anyway, my second draft was acceptable and I would say it was average or marginally below-average as far as novels go. Nothing exceptional really at all, but the writing is decent. Not as cliche as it could be, which is a good thing. The grammar and phrasing is decent. I've seen a lot better, I've seen some worse. I'm completely gutting and rewriting it for the third draft though, so who knows how that's going to go. Basically, I settled for some cheap horror in the second draft and it just... it's meh. It was mostly just for catharsis; proverbial fountains of blood, a rape scene, et cetera. Cheap horror. Going back through it, though, most of it just doesn't sit right with me. The entire time I was writing it, I was attempting to justify the horrible things the protagonist does. But then I was struck with a proverbial meteor — what if the protagonist is not justified? What if the protagonist does progressively more horrible things to a morally-neutral antagonist? What if the protagonist becomes worse than the antagonist. I need to gut the thing and redo a lot of it. Which is work. But once I get a good momentum going it will be fun. Writing is always fun.

I wrote up a longer summary for this second paragraph of the writeup but it sounded stupid so I deleted it. Grumble, grumble.

I hope nobody I know finds these daylogs. It doesn't really matter, I guess. Whatever happens happens.

The whole day is gone already. I really don't know where the time goes. I read some of my Birds and Blooms magazine this morning. The February one, because I can't find the January one. I shouldn't have so many possessions that I lose things, but getting rid of things is so hard. The eternal struggle. I worked on university-algebra garbage for a while. I understand so far. I look forward to never having to think about this again. Which will be a while, because I have to take Calc 1-4. Just thinking about it makes me feel a bit pukey. Mathematics is mostly pukey-feeling, with brief instances in which it is profoundly and immensely sexy. But those moments are so few and far between (for me specifically, at least) that it does not make it worth the while. I still apply myself. Maybe not as much as I can, though.

I might try writing daylogs just to myself, on my computer. I can almost never keep the momentum going if it's just for myself though. Writing to the void of an unknown website just helps me process better for some reason.

I discovered this thing called "doom metal" yesterday, and I'm really, really liking it. I've been looking for the genre for years and I'm happy to finally discover it. I've been looking for music that's really, really heavy, but really, really slow, and this genre perfectly encapuslates everything I've always wanted. I am immensely pleased with my discovery.

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