WENATCHEE — Residents across Chelan and Douglas counties have experienced a high level of frustration in their attempts to receive vaccines against COVID-19.
It has been a journey trying to get vaccinated, said Linda Herrington, 67, of Wenatchee. Herrington and others said they were able to receive the vaccine at the Town Toyota Center this week, but it took quite a bit of effort. Carol Wardell said she’s still concerned, despite receiving the vaccine, about more inaccessible populations getting it
“My husband and I were both there and I saw a lot of cars, a lot of people I knew,” Wardell said. “I didn’t see one Hispanic member of our community and that bugs me.”
The whole system is geared toward people who can work a computer, Wardell said. The phone system is also crazy, she said. She called someone on Monday and it took the entire day to get a phone call back. It isn’t reasonable to expect large portions of the population to wait all day.
Charlotte Brody, 80 of East Wenatchee, said she doesn’t understand why, if her airline can save her information and alert her when a flight becomes available, the state Department of Health’s website can’t do the same with vaccinations. She also has complaints about the phone system.
“If they were to put it right there on the (phone) message saying, ‘This is the date we’re out of vaccines, please call back on this date,’ it would save people a lot of trouble,” Brody said.
People have also struggled with who they should contact about getting vaccinated, such as the health district, their doctor or a local pharmacy, Herrington said. She was first told by friends at square dancing that Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH) was doing vaccines, so she called the clinic.
Herrington waited on hold for 50 minutes, but she was scheduled to get vaccinated on Thursday, she said.
“So I thought, ‘Yeah, it’s done! I just have to wait a few days to get it,’” Herrington said.
Then on Tuesday morning, she got an email saying the clinic was changing her appointment to next week. She went on the Town Toyota Center website on Tuesday and found they had extra slots, signed up and got vaccinated.
Her fellow square dancing partners also had their CVCH appointments postponed and tried to do the same thing, but all the other slots at the Town Toyota Center had filled.
Alana and Dan Mcialwain, both 74 of Leavenworth, managed to get vaccinated this week after months of effort, Alana McialWain said.
“And you know, we’ve been on this for, probably three months, working on it all of the time,” Alana Mcialwain said. “And fortunately, we were able to get a confirmation (Sunday), so it’s good for us. But I still worry about the other hundreds or thousands of elders who don’t have someone to help them with a computer.”
The Mcialwains’ dining room was set up as a command center on Sunday, when vaccine appointments were scheduled to go live, Alana Mcialwain said. They had three laptops open and ready and had spent the week practicing filling out the appointment application.
She said it was important for her and her husband to get vaccinated so they could see their 15 grandchildren and two great-grandkids. They have been isolating since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We want to be alive to see our great grandkids who we haven’t seen yet and enjoy our family get-togethers,” she said. “You know we’ve got 30 people in our (immediate) family and we’re not going to compromise being here for the events in life.”