Scheduling coronavirus vaccine shots online is causing panic for eligible Americans and the children and grandchildren helping them. That includes me and my parents, hunting for scraps of information on supply and pressing reload at all hours on poorly designed websites. By the time you type in all the required information, available appointments have vanished…. washingtonpost.com, How to master the vaccine-appointment website: A guide for everyone? Geoffrey A. Fowler, 2021
2021 has made being a computer whiz a matter of life and death. Shame on America for asking seniors to beta test bad vaccine logistics software.
The short supply of vaccine is only partly to blame for our current chaos. It’s a case study in how more technology is not always the answer.
There are just too many decentralized, overlapping vaccine websites. State governments created systems, many ignoring basics like inventory alerts we’ve come to expect from shopping websites. Local governments made their own too, sometimes just repurposing websites for selling community theater tickets. Then hospitals and clinics offer shots through their existing appointment systems and patient portals.
And starting this week, there will be even more places you need to look for appointments online. Pharmacy chains including CVS and Walgreens are beginning to distribute vaccine supply they’re getting directly from the federal government. In many places, you’ll have to call or go through their individual websites and apps to secure these shots.
Some seniors are adept at extreme online shopping and have turned juggling all these appointment interfaces into a job. But they’re in the minority: An estimated 42 percent of Americans over the age of 65 don’t even have a wired broadband Internet connection at home, according to a new report. Online vaccine appointment systems are particularly under-serving minority and low-income communities.