We are in MA where the rollout has been more gradual than in other states. After healthcare workers, the first group was age 75 or older. Right now, most people in that age category who want the vaccine have received it, especially those in care facilities. As of now 14% of the population has received at least one shot.
On Thursday, the state expanded the group to people 65+ or with two co-morbidities. This change expanded the potential population by one million. Since the state is getting just over 100,000 vaccines a week and schedules one week at a time, you can imagine the turmoil on Thursday when this new group was able to sign up. The website crashed but over 60,000 people did get appointments for next week.
The governor has also decided to give most of the vaccines to large vaccination centers and not to hospitals. This has eliminated the sites set up by the major hospitals in the Boston area which I think is too bad. We can go to Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and some malls but not to local clinics in our towns.
We are hoping that everything will have calmed down in another week or two and that we will be able to get our shots lined up by then.
For the best country in the world, this is a monumental disaster.
Kathy M...our county has the 65 + sign up, so that’s where the 165, 000 on our list comes from. But they only get 4,000 a week, none last week. And now there is another scandal. When they received two batches, one for first doses and one for second doses, they did not notice and used them all for first doses. Now they are scrambling to get second doses for 100,000 people to keep them within the CDC recommend 42 days that is acceptable between doses. So those of us waiting for first doses are pushed further down the line.
If this wasn’t so serious, it would be hysterically funny, would make a great comedy show. Anyone good at writing comedies? Don’t forget it would have to be a socially distanced acting one. I’d love to play the crazy nurse! Just not too many lines, I’m not very good at remembering them.
I am also in Massachusetts and over 75. Got my shot a couple of weeks ago at Gillette and it was very well done, in and out in15 min. But signing up was a disaster and getting signed up for #2 was another disaster.
Now they have opened the shots to 65 and older, and signing up is again a total disaster. When they opened it up to 65+, a million people became eligible and most tried on Thursday am. The real problem here is not the location, 90% of people live within 45 min of a site, but they just don't have enough vaccine...should have opened it up to 72+, then wait a week, then 69+, etc.
Appointments in NJ were equally as challenging. We spent at least 5 hours online before securing appointments for both of us. Different days. Different locations. BUT, when you check in for the first shot you get an appointment for the second one at that time. That takes the anxiety out of scheduling vaccine #2 within the appropriate time frame.
Perhaps the people poking the needles have something to do with the efficiency.. A steep learning curve is in operation with our health care provider UCSF. Our first Moderna shot took over an hour, and we were not admitted until fifteen minutes after our appointment time. Today we arrived twenty minutes early. We were admitted immediately, pasted with a couple stickers to show that the protocols had taken place. We sat down got the shots and were done (other than the fifteen minute mandatory wait afterward) in ten minutes. We finished before our appointment time. That was at UCSF in San Francisco. Here in Marin they have suspended new appointments due to weather related supply problems. Marin and San Francisco are in the same state. (;-)
British, if it makes you feel better, we live in neighboring Delaware County, and the county received no dosages last week with over 159,000 eligible folks waiting. It seems like lots of people have different angles on getting vaccinated. My friend's son in law is an Upper Darby cop and heard that Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital had extra dosages, and he managed to round up several family members, most of whom weren't technically eligible, and had them vaccinated. Stories like this when many agree to play by the rules angers me to no end. My wife and I are still waiting and trying to get vaccinate, Hate to admit it, but our Classic Italy tour in early October looks very unlikely.
If your county allows people to use halloween costumes to get shots, the problem is close to home. Our UCSF provider requires several identification verifications prior to giving the vaccine. That being said, they don’t turn away anyone over 75 with proper ID. They are efficient enough now that I’m pretty sure those who show up without an appointment are not a big problem.
Parts of the world are ready for us ... some are close to home.
We had our hot tub, now headed for dinner in the freezing cold ... they have heaters.
Had a few exciting moments. While having Scotch and chocolate on our cabin deck I spotted a fire in the distance around nine o’clock at night. This was the location of the “Rim Fire’ eight or nine years ago. The Evergreen Lodge was saved in part by the fact that the firefighters were living here. The fire came right up to the fence by the swimming pool, and there they held the line. We went into the full 911 mode, but the management was able to confirm that it was a ‘forest service’ controlled burn. All I knew was that I was looking at a ‘yellow’ light that was getting larger, and not very far away. Eloise couldn’t see it at first, but when she did said, yup that’s a fire. So we woke up the whole place, but at least now we can sleep.
I, too, live in MA and have to report that as a 75 year old I had a great experience getting the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. The process was so smooth and efficient from sign up to sign in, to the actual injection, to observation to making the second appointment and getting my vaccine card. No waiting in lines, no waiting in the cold at Gillette Stadium as my daughter a nurse had to do for over 2 hours during the first couple of days Gillette was operational. I am wondering why the process used by Beth Israel wasn't the model for all eligible facilities in the state. I received a personalized link to schedule my appointment at the facility of my choice and at a date convenient for me. And no, I do not have co-morbidities that would put me in a higher risk category other than my age. When I read about what others are going through it makes me sad and angry--it's not as though the people in power in government and organizations didn't know this was coming. How could they have let this happen? Now with the governor limiting supply to mass vaccination sites I'm a little concerned about my follow up next week but so far it appears on schedule and I've not been notified that Beth Israel won't be able to fulfill it. Enough of the ranting about that--but there have been so many comments about the vaccine on this thread, I wanted to add my 2 cents.
My real concern, of course, is when will international travel resume. I have back to back trips scheduled for September to Scotland with one provider and to Ireland with Tauck. Essentially it would be the whole month of September and it's anyone's guess at this point whether one or both or neither will be a go. Like others on this thread, I prefer to do back to back trips when feasible because I fly business class and prefer to maximize the travel miles. I am also a solo traveler and have to take into account the single supplement so try to rationalize the flight expense by doing 2 for 1. I don't do business class on the internal flights if they are short haul flights. I cancelled 3 trips last year and am afraid to book anything else until we have more clarity as to when we will be able to come and go as freely as we did pre-COVID. Will wait for Tauck to cancel my trip so the choice of destinations may be limited given how many people are trying to book into 2022 already but it's a big world out there and finding an intriguing place to go won't be a problem once the travel world is in full swing again.
You might have read today about the plans for England to open up in June. Scotland, Wales and Ireland will be considered separately but are likely to be similar. The vaccine roll out there has been so successfully that the Prime Minister feels confident that things will go well. My best friend in England has been helping with vaccinations on two shifts a week in the area I used to live in, the Midlands. She told me just yesterday that they have been so successful reaching the local populations there that they are down to vaccinating fifty year olds, so have had less vaccine supplied this week so other areas can catch up with them.
So I’m thinking that if the US can prove that a large majority of their population is vaccinated, and cases come down, you never know, the British Isles may let Americans into their country again. Since the new announcement, the Brits have gone crazy booking summer vacations, 500 times more than normal. You might want to keep an eye on latest development there. I look at BBC America Or BBC World news daily
British - Keep in mind that in the UK they are giving most people only the first shot. With the Astra-Zeneca vaccine which they are using they have to wait 8-12 weeks to get the second shot. So, yes they are doing well at vaccinating the people, but they aren't getting them 'completely' vaccinated. So I'd give them an asterisk with respect to their progress.
I have a friend in London that I met on the Portrait of India tour. He got his first shot weeks before I got my first shot, but I will get my second shot before he does. This is just one example.
According to ‘The Points Guy’, the travel boom has already begun. Top current destinations are the National Parks.
Sealord - What's the Point Guy have to say about the international travel boom (or should I say bust)?
International travel is going to take a bit longer and depends upon how countries deal with vaccinated people. Mexico, much of the Caribbean, and many other countries are open now, but Europe is mostly not available. Just do a search for ‘The Points Guy’, and you should see his website.
The CDC still recommends no International travel, whether other countries are open or not. If you travel, any Insurance could be invalid right now.
I will travel with a company that chooses to ignore unreasonable CDC guidelines. They do not have the right to control your freedom of movement. They can recommend all they want, but they have no right to prohibit.
Unfortunately, Sealord is not alone in his comments about freedoms and rights and that is why the US has such a high number of cases and deaths, too many selfish people who think they are better or more entitled than anyone else and another reason other countries hate us and think we deserve our plight. So this is political, please just ignore this post if you don’t like it.
I also expect Tauck to be responsible, I just wish they would hurry up and tell me my April tour is canceled, that’s not unreasonable especially as I am doing what they ask and not calling them every five minutes.
Those who feel like they get to decide what guidelines they'll follow on a Tauck tour might want to read the new Travel Well Pledge you'll be required to sign. The full document is on the website but here's a pertinent quote.
"I agree to take personal responsibility for my own health and well-being, to practice social distancing in shared spaces, and to follow the instructions of Tauck staff and their supplier partners regarding health protocols. I understand that noncompliance with these measures by myself or my traveling party will result in our party not being able to continue on this Tauck journey."
Rights always come with responsibilities. Personally I've had it with the "but my freedoms" crowd. Why? Because I need knee surgery and won't likely get it until this summer in large part because covid hospitalizations closed down elective surgeries thru Dec and Jan causing a big backlog. If, and it's a big if, our Aug/Sep tour happens I'll either have to do it with a bad knee or a just operated on one. So, someone else's freedom to socialize, ignore guidelines, etc affects my life.
I’m very concerned that I will find myself on a Tauck tour where their are people not complying with the Tauck rules and a Tour Director does nothing about it.
British - I think that will be the exception rather than the rule. On all the trips I've been on, there has never been an issue with someone being late (more than once) or someone smoking where they shouldn't. In general, we're traveling with educated and responsible people. Sure, there can be a prima donna or an a-hole there, but I suspect that Tauck will make it clear to the TDs that rules are to be enfoced, as they sure don't wna to be shut down again after they reopen.
We have also never had problems with people being late, but we have had trouble with smokers and a few people using phones on the bus and talking on the bus when the TD is talking. You have to be a strong personality to call people out and be prepared for abusive replies
I remember a discussion last year about possible Tauck COVID rules, etc. but don't remember if it was actually put in writing. Essentially it said those who do not follow the guidelines and/or TD direction will be asked to leave the tour immediately!
See my comment above, you have to be strong to carry these things out
Oh, don't get me started about people talking on the bus or elsewhere when the TD or a local guide is talking! Arrgghhhh! On one tour there was this person that always did that and also never paid attention. Sometimes, only a few minutes after the TD explained in detail about upcoming activities, etc. this person would cluelessly ask a question that was answered by the TD just minutes earlier. This happened too many times to count.
Just got an email from Vacations to Go that revealed at least four cruise lines including Crystal that will require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated. Most of the major cruise lines will require all crew to be vaccinated.
They also advertised many resorts in Mexico that are up and running. A friend (who also is a TD) recently returned from Mexico ... an all inclusive and she never left the resort. She said the planes were full. Mexico is popular with many in California, but we rarely go there. We have been on ships that made a required stop there, but we never got off the boat. I talked with an Air Force nurse while in the hot tub yesterday. He said they were deploying five thousand corpsmen to augment the vaccination effort.
I’m not sure how crew members of river boats or cruise ships are going to be able to get a vaccine, they are usually young and do not have American citizenship. Does anyone know how this will happen this year?
These types of vacations, which I call single destination, 'hunker down in place upon arrival' types of vacations are happening. Sealord has made a few trips to National Parks. Myself and a few family members are going to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica in April (we don't plan to leave the resort and the resort offers the required test for return to the states on site). Even then, we are only going because we all will have had both vaccine shots one to two months prior to arrival.
I believe these types of vacations are more and more doable as more people become fully vaccinated. This is especially true when the destination, if outside the states, makes it easy to fulfill the return requirements.
These types of trips help scratch the travel itch, but are far from a quenching refreshment. The full travel 'quenching refreshment' won't be available until lots of things return to near pre-pandemic conditions, with a population that is mostly vaccinated.
When the 'quenching refreshment' is happening I'll say we're in a travel boom, until then, as things improve, more and more 'niche' segments within the travel industry will resume.
I can only guess. You’ve got a hundred thousand tons of steel sitting in the water burning money. You have a doctor on board. They will find a way to get the necessary vaccines. Johnson and Johnson is coming online soon. I’m guessing they will or have contracted directly with the vaccine companies.
Sealord - What you say is true, but don't forget the other elements of the equation, ie. the populations of the ports that those ships visit and the restrictions that each of those ports/countries imposes. The problem can't be solved solely by the cruise ship lines working with the vaccine companies. Both of those can only do their part, but without the element I describe being solved I'm not sure you get to where you want to be.