In Search of a COVID Shot

I know I mentioned that we were leaving on Saturday, but as so often happens (especially this last year) things changed.  It started with my daughter who is pregnant in Minneapolis telling me that she and her partner had scheduled their COVID vaccinations.  This led me to really thinking about what it would look like if we didn’t get the vaccine before meeting our new grandson and I really didn’t like how that would work.

Initially I thought we could maybe get a Johnson & Johnson shot during our travels but the more I looked into it the worse I felt about our chances.  The rules from state to state vary widely and timeframes vary as well.  It’s all well and good to say it’s likely we would be able to get a shot but likely and definitely in this case are worlds apart.

I talked to some RV friends of mine next and several of them had managed to get shots in a different state than their domicile.  That was good news but one common factor in their stories was the amount of hours they spent online trying to find an open appointment.  Add to that the fact that we would need to stay in one place for at least 30 days if we got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and the idea of trying to find a shot while we were moving was daunting.

Next I thought maybe I could find something in South Carolina, but that turned out to be a real mess. All states are different, but South Carolina is really struggling and they don’t have enough vaccines to cover their 1A patients let alone enough for the 1C that we are in this state.  I even asked Lee to go to the Walgreen’s across the street from us to see if we could get on some kind of a waiting list for unused injections but that conversation only cemented how difficult things are here.  The woman he talked to was absolutely exhausted and although she confirmed that they would put a general call over the PA when they had unused injections she also said it was extremely random when that happened and they maintained no list of names. You basically have to be in the building when it happens.

Part of the problem here is many of the appointments are through private providers and those lists (best we can tell) are all separate.  Monday morning Lee woke up and checked Walgreen’s, Publix, Costco and the state site and couldn’t find any appointments for anyone this entire week.  That was pretty upsetting and we talked about widening our search so I decided to look in Florida, which is our domicile.  Amazingly I went on their site, found Nassau County (the closest to us) and within minutes found two adjacent appointments for Saturday 3/27.  It was amazingly easy, so much so that I doubted I had done it right, but in no time we had confirmations for our Moderna appointments.

The downside is we have a 3-1/2 hour drive each way that we have to make twice but honestly I feel like we won the lottery.  Even better because as of today (3/22) Florida opened it up to age 50 and above and we don’t need to worry about proving residency because our drivers licenses are all the proof we need.  Could we have found something in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, or Minnesota…maybe.  But I would much rather stay here the extra 30+ days and then continue our travels.

To be clear I personally know people who have gotten the shot out of their home state and not had an issue, but that experience seems to vary as widely as everything else does in this vaccine rollout.  Not the first time our life was complicated by our travels and certainly not the last, I am just grateful that this time we stayed in place until we worked it out rather than pushing forward and hoping.  This is just too important to us.

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