Getting vaccinated

I live in a mostly rural county adjoining Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh metropolitan area. There is a thin, moderately populated edge of the county, where I live, and the rest of the county probably has more farm animals than people. I can find a traffic jam anytime I like if I go 10-minutes in one direction, and it’s top-down country travel 10-minutes in the other direction.

So, as I watched the news’ horror stories about long lines and difficulties making appointments, I worried about how I’d get vaccinated — twice.

What do you know? My rural county has done a terrific job of getting its residents vaccinated. There have been long lines, to be sure, but folk have been processed through with tremendous efficiency; the process hasn’t added any needless delay.

I am reminded of when I got the swine flu vaccination when I was an undergraduate at Michigan Tech. There were long lines, but they shuffled right along. You showed a nurse your student identification, she wrote down your student number, another nurse gave you a shot with one of those air-jet guns, and away your went; it couldn’t have been done any faster.

Tech had an R.O.T.C. program, and the commander, or captain, or whatever he was, was a prominent presence and had a role in organizing the mass vaccinations. And why not? If there is anything the military can be counted upon to know how to do, it’s put people in a line and process them.

So I am wondering if the county officials, knowing they had no idea how to execute a mass vaccination project, turned it over to the military? It has a military-ish feel. There are a lot of people working the project — and they all have exactly one job. This person directs you into the line; this person reads your drivers license; the next person fills out a vital piece of paper; the next person collects the paper; the next person inspects that your sleeve is rolled-up; the next person actually jabs you; the next person gives you a piece of paper noting what time will signify that 15-minutes have elapsed, and instructs you to put in on your dashboard; the next person waves you out and on your way at the appointed time.

I’m only thinking out loud, but the military would know how to do this; the average rural county medical officer probably wouldn’t. But … whatever. Franklin County, North Carolina, has now jabbed me twice with no more inconvenience than actually necessary, and I’m grateful; they’re doing a very fine job.

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