Roy Exum: “Where’s The POD At?”

Sunday, January 17, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The state of Tennessee has been allotted “about 80,000” doses of COVID vaccine a week for the entire state since the first ‘public” vaccinations began roughly three weeks ago, this according to Bill Christian, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Health. But –wait! -- as of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim 656,550 doses have been distributed in the state and the CDC claims 264,713 vaccines have been administered. Of the doses administered, 238,943 were first doses and another 25,213 second doses.

Get out your calculator, your abacus, your piece of pencil, or whatever you use to make numbers align better than your eraser, and you can easily see why the coronavirus distribution has been chaos all over the country. Nobody knows when the shipments will arrive, nobody knows how many doses will be included, and with the direction of the ever-changing delivery stream anything but consistent, there is at least some good news.

On Friday afternoon our Health Department revealed an on-line registration process that has worked well in its first 24 hours. Until now it has been limited to those who are getting their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. There is enough vaccine available to repeat doses to those who were given the Pfizer vaccine, which required a 21-day pause between the first and second application, as well as those who have waited the required 28-day pause prescribed by Moderna labs.

* * *

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS

Let’s say you want to make reservations for your second dose of the vaccine …

At your computer, type in health.hamiltongov.org. You will see a picture of the Hamilton County Health Department on Third Street, that ain’t nothing but parsley on the mashed potatoes. The Third Street headquarters “ain’t in play.” Worse, the picture has a big information number … 423/209-8383 …

DO NOT DIAL THIS NUMBER … It will only make you mad.

Instead, what you want to do is scroll down, on the same page, to a big box beneath the building’s picture that reads: “COVID-19 VACCINE.” That’s the one! When you tap the “enter” key, it will prompt you to the next page, where there is the same picture of the Health’s Department headquarters on Third Street. This time the picture doesn’t have the hot line.

But stay focused: Remember, your mission is to make an appointment for your second dose. So, you’ll see a line that reads, “COVID-19 Vaccination Sign Up - 2nd Dose” but …  before you click enter, take time to notice Hamilton County now has two new sites as inoculation centers. No more Chatt State where you took your first injection. This time there are two new locations, or PODS, instead of one:

* -- Riverpark Hubert Fry Center - 4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37406

* -- CARTA Bus Barn - 1617 Wilcox Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37406

The self-serving elitists call both “PODs,” which is unfortunate language that means “Place of Dispensing.” I know, it’s sad, and I’ll double-dare anyone to stop at any convenience store on Amnicola Highway and yell out the window: “Hey, buddy … where is the POD at? Which way to the POD?” (Tip: Go to Google Maps, or MapQuest, and you can easy download exact instructions from you address to your designated POD.)

So, because I am just ‘touring’ the Heath Department website, I tapped on Pfizer, as if I was getting a second dose, and I was directed to a page that had the Hamilton County Seal on it. But what caught my eye at the bottom of my screen were big red letters, “NO SLOTS AVAILABLE -- SIGN UP IS FULL.”

Admittedly, I’m not the smartest person on the sidewalk but I started sniffing around and found whoever designed the website is a few more bricks shy of my load. In America we instinctively read top-to-bottom and left-to-right. But my boy Waldo, or whoever created a website that would shout in bright read, “NO SLOTS AVAILABLE – SIGN UP IS FULL,” got it in his head he would signify the different sessions available in a “window” that appears away from the text … and above the County Seal.

Understand: the website directs you to a pre-set date of Jan. 21 that turns you away – it is full - but by changing the session in the window box above the Seal, this to Saturday, Jan. 23, there were still vacancies and the sign up is very easy.

Now, signups are still limited to our 75-and-Up but the County’s excellent Emergency Management team is now working beautifully and in tandem with the Health Department. “Sometime today” there will be notification on health.hamiltontn.gov where those of age 75 can register for appointments on the website.

Many in this age group are not computer savvy and they should call the joint Emergency Management/Health Department Assist line at:

423-209-5399

Please, limit calls to this appointment line to persons over age 75 or their representatives. No, these responders have no inkling when the age limit will be to 65 and, no, they cannot take multiple requests for a bridge club, a Sunday School Class, the Ruling Elders of anything, or grandchildren accompanying their Mammaw.

When a vaccine appointment comes near, those recipients are urged to arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before your appointed time. If you arrive earlier, not only will you create a traffic jam, but you will block another person from his/her appointed time.

Please continue to monitor heath.hamiltonth.org and, if it may help, Hamilton County is expected to receive enough vaccine that health officials can work seven days a week through Feb. 1. They are planning to increase the number of inoculations per hour and broaden hours each day the public’s vaccine numbers increase.

* * *

TENNESSEE BY THE NUMBERS

New Cases in Tenn. last 24 hours: +4,808 (680,847 Total)

Deaths in Tenn. last 24 hours: 44 (8,355 Total)

Hospitalized in Last 24 hours: - 61 net (2,805 Current.

Tested Last 24 Hours: +28,318 (6,000,691 State Total)

* * *

A PARTING SHOT

Over the last seven days, there has been an average of 1,406 tested each day at the former Alstom site on Riverfront Parkway. That works out to 382.3 tests per 100,000 population. Please be advised the average per 100,000 is 20.4 percent positive.

royexum@aol.com


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