FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

A personal message from a N C Emergency Management COVID-19 vaccine “Wait-list” volunteer

By Elizabeth Layman
January 18, 2021

Editor’s Note: For the first time, we have taken a comment on one of our articles, to the home page. It caught our attention because the message was delivered with such passion and it is an important message for us to hear.  Thank you, Elizabeth Layman.

Click on the above graphic to have your name placed on the waitlist.

“I commend the county for developing a system that also provides equal access to those who are underserved, who are working, and who have much limited time and access to the internet. We are all one in this fight, and I am encouraged that we are paying attention to those who are less fortunate than many of us.”

I am a volunteer at NCEM for the Vaccination Waitlist phone room. “Random sorting” means that when vaccine is available, the number of vaccines will determine how persons on the waitlist can receive the vaccine. Since there will most likely be more people on the list than available vaccines at any given time, the computer does a random selection from the list. For example, if there are 300 vaccines, but 500 persons on the waitlist, 300 persons on the list will be randomly selected by the computer and notified that they can claim their ticket to get the vaccine and get their appointment.

I have read that some residents are upset that this is not a “first-come, first-served” process. That was the original process and caused much frustration and consternation for nearly everyone, except those lucky enough to “refresh” their screen at the right second. This system solves the need to be sitting at your computer at a specific second in time.

As for not working like the system at Publix to get your deli order, I hope people understand the following:

  • There are many, many residents who are working and cannot just sit at their computer (or stand in line) at a specific time.
  • Many residents, particularly our older population, do not have access to the internet and need assistance to register, which is why NCEM maintains a phone number for help doing that.
  • Many residents in this age group may have limited vision, or limited dexterity to register themselves in such an online system that previously existed.

I commend the county for developing a system that also provides equal access to those who are underserved, who are working, and who have much limited time and access to the internet. We are all one in this fight, and I am encouraged that we are paying attention to those who are less fortunate than many of us.

While I understand that people may want a system that serves those who get there “first”, I also hope that everyone understands that not everyone is able to be “served” in such a system due to situations beyond their control.

I also ask that we remain patient. The new waitlist system went live on Friday morning, and OF COURSE, everyone was trying to get online at the same time. That’s understandable. But within one hour, the number of persons using the system had decreased to the point where getting online was quick.

As I said earlier, since this is not a “first-come first-served” system, and the need to be sitting there and spending an hour refreshing screens, etc. has eliminated this problem.

There were probably 10 volunteers working the phones when the system went live on Friday morning. We were able to take hundreds and hundreds of calls within just a couple of hours. We helped people register who could not get online, and that phone number was there for everyone. I hope people are patient with this…………imagine the 10 of us sitting there working as fast as possible to answer the phones. We worked hard at that, and believe me, no one took a break for ANY reason for hours.

And understand that access to the “eventbrite” site will happen when the vaccine arrives and people on the waitlist get the email from eventbrite to “claim their ticket” to get the vaccine. Appointments cannot be made until the county actually RECEIVES the vaccine or at least has a confirmed date of arrival. That information is included in the instructions on the website.
Again, please please, be understanding and patient.

About Elizabeth Layman

Elizabeth and her husband Jim moved to Fernandina Beach 16 years ago from Fort Lauderdale. They volunteer with the Nassau County Emergency Management Vaccine Waitlist Help Desk.

Since arriving in Fernandina, Elizabeth has volunteered with the Boys & Girls Clubs, and the Humane Society.  She is a Certified COVID-19 Contact Tracer.  For 10 years. Elizabeth served in the  Arlington, Virginia Police Department as a Major Sex Crime Investigator.  She is now under contract with the United States Department of Justice as a consultant.

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