Let’s face facts: Maine is botching the vaccine rollout. Senior citizens are directed to phone numbers and access websites that greet us with busy signals or stonewall us with messages saying, essentially, “Call back repeatedly. We have no idea when we will be able to schedule your shot.”

I’ve had friends who’ve called dozens of times, who’ve been on hold for an hour or more, or who have hit the “refresh” button on their computers repeatedly. Ridiculous. This puts an unfair and unreasonable burden on individuals, most of them elderly and many not so tech-savvy, asking them to keep running head first at a brick wall.

The problem is not with medical staff or even with the unpredictability of vaccine availability. The problem is with scheduling. Time slots should be made available to all callers, even if on a provisional basis, based on conservative assumptions of vaccine availability and medical staff capacity to administer. If vaccine supplies fall short and appointments must be rescheduled, so be it. But that responsibility should be on the scheduling system.

And get enough phone lines to handle the load, for Pete’s sake. Asking Mainers to “just keep trying” with a minuscule chance of getting through is insulting, inefficient, and demoralizing. Somebody who understands scheduling processes must step in and fix this disgraceful situation ASAP.


Randy Helm


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