By Dick Hall-Sizemore
I do not know who is to blame–CVS or the state–but the vaccination situation is unacceptable.
The Commonwealth seemed to be getting on the right track by enabling individuals to register with their local health departments and the local agencies then using those registration to schedule appointments.
Then the federal government changed things by announcing that the vaccines would be distributed through private pharmacies.
That could have worked well. The local agencies would take registrations centrally and then work with the designated CVS store to schedule the vaccinations. That is sort of what was reported was going to happen. But CVS said that folks would have to register with its stores, but it would give priority to those on the health department registry.
But, that all blew up. First, CVS said that its portal would not open until Thursday (today), but actually opened its portal on Tuesday afternoon. Then, it had no way of preventing folks not on the health department registry from registering with an appointment with it. As Danny Avula, the state vaccinator coordinator, dryly put it, “Not an ideal rollout.”
So, my registration with the Henrico/Richmond health department means nothing. CVS does not have a waiting list. It will not be using the health department waiting list. It will be catch as catch can. Of course, according to the CVS website, I could schedule an appointment in Chatham or Danville for a vaccination today. Otherwise, I will need to be on the alert as to when CVS will get its next batch of vaccine and then stay up until midnight so that I can jump onto the CVS website and, hopefully, schedule an appointment somewhere reasonably close.
It doesn’t have to be this complicated. Surely, there are technical minds at CVS and the state that could figure out how to synch the two systems.