As America’s vaccine rollout lurches on, stories continue to emerge of individuals who are not yet eligible being vaccinated as a result of supply chain failures — and those who are eligible struggling to make appointments, all while some states risk running out of vaccine supply. Copywriter and Orlando, Florida, resident Monica Morrison became one such story this month. Although the healthy 35-year-old does not fall into any of Florida’s current vaccine priority groups, she was able to score a Moderna shot after driving her mother Cherie to get vaccinated and learning that the site had extra doses. Despite her not currently qualifying, nurses opted to vaccinate Morrison. This is her story.
I was lucky enough to get my 70-year-old mom a vaccine appointment at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Her appointment was on Jan. 6 — the day of the insurrection — anytime between 6 p.m. and their last appointment at 9 p.m. I don’t know if it was because of the insurrection, but there was no traffic and no one there when we arrived at 8:30 p.m.
As I was driving into the bowels of the Convention Center, I thought, “Can’t hurt to ask nicely if they have any spare doses” — I’d heard Moderna vials sometimes have extras. When the nurse got to our car, I asked, and she said they did in fact have several extra doses. After checking with her boss, she returned to the car and vaccinated both of us.
[Editor’s Note: The Post has reached out to Florida’s Department of Health for comment.]
Everyone I know is super surprised by the way I was able to get vaccinated. I was super surprised, too. My mom wasn’t: She’s lived in Florida a long time and knows how swampy and boundaryless things are here. She knew the vaccine rollout would be a s–tshow.
To the people who want to hate on me, I welcome a healthy debate about what I did, but I believe that it was practical: I didn’t take a dose away from anyone, I asked nicely, I didn’t create a mob. I went when there was low demand and made a request. Not only do I have no regrets, but I feel other people can responsibly replicate what I did, and we can achieve collective immunity faster as a result. I think it’s smart for younger people to drive their elders to their appointment and ask for an extra dose.
These supply chain bubbles seem like they are going to be popping and bursting everywhere because of this chaotic deployment, so I think it’s on all of us to notice these opportunities as they arise and to respectfully and tactfully, without harming anyone else, seize them, for the health of our nation. If even a thousand people can do what I did successfully, it would make a big difference.
The failure of America’s vaccine rollout doesn’t shock me, but I do find it personally devastating: My sister is an ICU nurse who has been fighting on the frontlines of COVID for a year. The level of suffering I have seen on her face and what she has had to endure brings me more pain than I can describe in words, and to watch this gross mismanagement result in yet more unnecessary pain and loss of life disgusts me.
The point of a vaccine is mass adoption. I understand why we’re prioritizing older people, but we also need to vaccinate active people who are in contact with others, so the faster we can do it the better. At the current rate, we’ll be in a pandemic forever.
I see asking about extra doses as a step towards reaching collective immunity. Getting that shot, for me, felt like doing my part. It also brought a huge sense of relief that, just maybe, this madness is approaching its conclusion.