A Neoliberalism Meets Covid Vignette: Barriers to Getting a Vaccine, Publix Edition

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I had suggested that Lambert include this shaggy dog story about our Covid vaccine misadventures in Links, but Lambert thought it was sufficiently revealing, in a bad way, that it was worth fleshing out and presenting as a post to see if other readers had encountered similar obstacles to getting a shot.

Mind you, for us, these were merely annoying time sinks. But imagine if you were an hourly worker or a retiree on limited income who didn’t drive and had prevailed on a friend for the ride to and from the pharmacy, and didn’t have time for this level of run-around.

My mother, one of their aides (a former NYC taxi driver) and I wanted to get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Publix. For those of you not from this part of the world, Publix is an employee-owned grocery chain in the South.

We have been isolated and using all sorts of prophylactics and wearing procedure masks in the house and KN95s when venturing out. These measures seemed to be the reason that neither my mother not I got Covid from one of our aides when she had a confirmed case in January.

Nevertheless, your humble blogger is getting surgery in 2 weeks. Going to a hospital not vaccinated seemed to be a wee bit too much risk.

However, the process of getting the vaccine was Gawd-awful. Mind you, I have never gotten a shot at a pharmacy, so I do not have a basis for comparison. But this experience was enough to deter me from ever going that route again.

The Publix website says it has J&J and Moderna. At least that much is correct. It says you can walk in but also offers appointments:

We wanted to make sure of supply so we thought an appointment was preferable. But the site offered only AM slots and only (oddly) a couple of days out the current week and nothing beyond that. I am not an AM person, so that was out.

On a regular grocery run, we had the aide go to the pharmacy to find out if there would be any risk of supplies being out if three of us showed up for a J&J shot in the PM.

The pharmacist said you had to sign up on the site (despite the site clearly saying otherwise) and they did J&J vaccinations only on Mondays and Tuesdays due to it being a small store. He also recommended accessing the site on a computer as opposed to a device.

I tried signing up. The only date offered was the following day, a Thursday, which the pharmacist had said was not a J&J day. I replicated this error just now after clicking the button to choose a J&J jab:

The site also no dates beyond the current week.

I had the aide photograph the relevant site pages from my laptop and go back to the pharmacist. He said he was sorry and he’d hold 3 shots for Tuesday afternoon. He advised us to get there between 2 and 3, preferably 2 and 2:30, and said he’d be there.

We arrived before 2. We were told the pharmacist we had dealt with was not on that day (!!!) but the employees on duty would take care of us.

It took over an hour and half to get the shots due to paperwork, or more accurately, billing. So the whole process took almost 2 hours.

They had no problem with the aide who has no insurance and was nervous about getting the shot. She says she’d never been vaccinated which I am sure is not true but means she hasn’t taken any as an adult. This is a brain cancer survivor who also was paralyzed for 3 years due to an accident and had major back surgery (a rod in place of her lower spine) to be able to walk again. So it’s not as if she hasn’t had some dealings with doctors.

They did have to spend more time with me because my Cigna plan does pay for drugs but does not have a pharmacy plan (I have to pay and submit for reimbursement). They wanted a pharmacy card. They had to call Cigna, which struck me as absurd.

They went on tilt with my mother. They wanted her “red white and blue” card, as in a Medicare card. My mother is in a Medicare Advantage plan1 and carries only 2 cards, one its pharmacy card and one the “everything else” card. Local hospitals not in her network accept that card, as do the ambulance services.

The staff kept insisting they needed her Medicare card, which I am highly confident she has never needed. The Medicare site confirms that belief. In its very first paragraph on the page about Medicare cards:

When you’re enrolled in Medicare, you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 65th birthday or your 25th month of getting disability benefits. Your Medicare card shows that you have Medicare health insurance. It shows whether you have Part A (listed as HOSPITAL), Part B (listed as MEDICAL), or both, and the date your coverage begins. If you have Original Medicare, you’ll use it to get your Medicare-covered services. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan, in most cases, you’ll use your plan’s card to get your Medicare-covered services.

The Publix staff then had to call my mother’s Medicare Advantage plan (oh, and said they needed the last four numbers of her SSN, which I was not happy to have to provide) to get her Medicare number. That took a while.

Mind you, 40% of Medicare insureds opt for Medicare Advantage.2 This can’t have been the first time this has come up at Publix, but all the scrambling suggested otherwise.

So I am left wondering: was this snafu the result of poor data specification by the Feds, or poor implementation by Publix?

The pharmacy employees were friendly and did their best to put a good face on this situation. One staffer even wheeled my mother back to her car.

From what readers have said, in well run injection sites, the total throughput time, including observation, is about an hour. We had assumed, due to going at a slack time, that it might be an hour and half at worst.

Instead, due to this exercise taking so long, the aide had to rush back to the house to get my mother out of the car and settled (she had to leave a task for the next aide), since she had a paid gig right after her shift here.

I was the only one to suffer from side effects: some soreness at the injection site, which abated in a few hours (and might not have happened at all had I not done shoulder exercises day prior) and a bad case of chills due to sitting in a thin sleeveless shirt for nearly two hours under an air conditioner blast. I was shivering before I got the shot. No joke, it took me a couple of hours in bed in a house kept at 75 degrees with lots of blankets to get my hands and feet warmed up back up to body temperature.

Oh, and vaccine hesitancy is real. Our other aides are all certified nursing assistants. None has gotten a Covid vaccination, including the one who already had Covid.3 The latter is the most interested in getting it but has little confidence in the little guidance she has gotten as to how long to wait after her infection.

The other two are leery because they know people in their circles who have had bad reactions, both the “had to stay at home for a couple of days” variety (which for hourly workers is a very bad outcome) and some who were out of whack longer. None had heard of horror-story level side effects, but the severity and frequency of the ones they know about has led them to distrust official advice.

In keeping, my mother asked the pharmacy employee who took her to the car what she though about masks. She said, “I want to keep them. I think it’s too soon to stop.”


1 She and my father joined the HMO affiliated with the University of Alabama before he retired. This Medicare Advantage plan includes that HMO. For someone as old and feeble as she is, she spends remarkably little time with doctors and takes only one medication on a regular basis.

2 I hate to tell you but I can see why. One plan that covers Parts A and B, the gap insurance, plus usually Part D, is a hell of a lot more appealing than having to buy bits and pieces and needing accounting-level attention to detail to figure out if anything fell through the cracks.

3 She got her case in early January, and vaccine distribution in Alabama was very limited as of then. She has just started her own small home health care aide agency, so I suspect also she would have had difficulty in substantiating her status as a front line health care worker. So she can’t really be faulted.

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  1. GM

    Good luck with your surgery, although 2 weeks is probably not enough time for immunity to build up, even with J&J (I would have gone with two doses of Moderna if I had no constraints — protection is much much better — but that is an even longer time scale).

    This whole ordeal illustrates a point I have been making to people around me who think this is over because they themselves have been vaccinated — if this is how the process is going to be (my own original appointment was cancelled and moved by a month because of organizational issues), i.e. them waiting for people to come get vaccinated rather than actively hunting down the unvaccinated, this is not going to achieve the goals it needs to achieve.

    The real herd immunity threshold for this is in the upper 80s, perhaps more. So you have to not only make sure there are no hurdles to impede those people who want to get vaccinated from getting it, you have to actively go after people and vaccinate them.

    I don’t see any of that.

    Those stunts like lotteries for the vaccinated are not going to be remotely sufficient.

    I am actually very much surprised vaccination went as well as it has so far — perhaps the capitalist machine felt sufficiently threatened and given that this was the only way out for it without making unacceptable concessions to the masses, it had to kick into action and organize something like a proper vaccination campaign.

    But “something like a proper campaign” is not enough.

    Keep in mind that when they were eliminating smallpox, people were literally vaccinated under the barrels of guns surrounded by soldiers from the army, and had it not been this way, we would still have smallpox.

    Also keep in mind that the CDC back then was advising that anyone going to areas where smallpox is endemic be revaccinated within at most 5 years — because even that vaccine didn’t provide lifelong immunity. Indeed, the last person known to die of smallpox was vaccinated (12 years prior). And more generally, we have been so successful in suppressing most of the diseases that we vaccinate kids for that we are much less aware of the fact that many vaccines do not actually provide guaranteed lifelong protection — we just don’t get exposed to the diseases and thus the vaccines don’t get tested. Though it does happen — in my case, for example, probably the sickest I have ever been was when I had a breakthrough cases of mumps (even though I had been vaccinated).

    But it’s not going to be 5 years for COVID, it will be annual.

    So who is organizing the revaccination campaign for next winter? Doesn’t seem like there is any such planning, victory has been declared.

    Although Pfizer did just start tests for the safety of the third dose boosters, which is telling about how they themselves see the situation.

    But will those boosters be free forever? It’s very doubtful Pfizer and Moderna will be OK with that. Moderna’s market cap is 65-70 billion, and it only has one product on the market — almost certainly that evaluation did not reach those heights with the idea of vaccines staying at their current low prices. On the other hand the whole economy depends on sufficient vaccinations to prevent dead bodies from piling in the streets, so there might be pushback from all the other industries.

    But of course there is a solution that works well for all of them (and not for us) — mandatory vaccinations if you want to do x, y, and z, but the cost is on you and it costs $150-200. And you will need it annually…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for your advice about the immunity. I plan to bring my trusty povidone iodine with me and use it frequently.

      And yes, the utter absence of any messaging about the need for boosters in a year or less has been noteworthy.

      1. George Tadeusiak


        My wife and I also went to Publix for the JJ vaccine, though the WEB site could be more intuitive it was a fairly painless experience. It took about 20 minutes for both of us to schedule the reservation, I reserved 11:15 and 11:30 time slots for the shots. We arrived at the store at 11:15, it took around 5 minutes to check in, (we both had our Medicare gov card). I got my shot around 11:22, my wife got hers at around 11:24 and we were back in the care by 11:30. It appears that the vaccine experience varies by location. I was expecting more of the experience that you endured, we were both pleasantly surprised.

        1. SpartaTodd

          I scheduled mine online in nearby Stuart, FL at Walgreens and first and the second shot were uneventful. Fill out paperwork before, show up 15 minutes before shot schedule, wait 5 minutes, get shot, wait 15 minutes and go.

      2. grayslady

        A word to the wise: hospitals absolutely forbid personal medications while you are admitted. You are not allowed to bring in so much as your own supply of vitamin D. The reasons are obvious–negative drug interactions. If you are determined to use your nasal spray, clear it with your doctor first. Assuming your doctor says it’s okay to continue using, you will need to smuggle it in and lie to the nurse when asked if you have any medications with you or else have it prescribed for you by your doctor to be administered in the hospital. I had to be devious with an overnight hospital stay following anaphylaxis to the flu shot. I was not going to leave my every-4-hour COPD inhaler at home and risk the hospital not having what I needed or else charging me $1200 for a new 30-day inhaler (the full retail price of the inhaler is over $400, and triple the price or more is a fair estimate of the hospital markup). It all depends on how long you expect to be hospitalized and how obliging your doctor is.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I cleared the iodine with the pre-op MD and I have a paper that says that zinc, Vit D, Vit C, calcium and magnesium are all fine.

          1. Clark

            Is povidone iodine nasal spray something you have to get at a compounding pharmacy? I asked a druggist about it last year sometime and he looked at me as if I were nuts.

            1. John Zelnicker

              May 26, 2021 at 9:22 pm

              You can buy Povidone-Iodine over-the-counter at most any pharmacy in a 10% solution. You then have to dilute it to 0.5-1.0% (20-1 or 10-1) for use in a nasal spray or for gargling.

              I couldn’t find empty nasal spray bottles, so I got some with saline, emptied them, and refilled them with the diluted Povidone-Iodine.

    2. XXYY

      Good writeup.

      The entire global response to the COVID epidemic so far has been plagued by premature declarations of victory, and by mistaking good luck for skill. Of course there is a natural human desire to believe this horrific pandemic is “over”, but societal leaders should be putting their energy into damping this tendency, not adding to it or encouraging it.

      In many countries, including the US, the general attitude is “once we have a vaccine it will all be over.” I worry about this. Very high levels of immunity in the population are needed to depress case levels, and, while we are headed in the right direction, 80-90% vaccination rates seem like they will be a stretch. We also don’t know much about the “sterilizing” effect of existing vaccines (whether they keep recipients from spreading COVID asymptomatically); most measures of vaccine effectiveness are how well they keep you from getting severe symptoms, which is a different thing.

      There also seems to be a disturbing trend of abandoning other COVID safety measures now that vaccines are available. To me, this seems like arguing you don’t need to wear your seat belt if your car has air bags. The goal is for new inventions to reduce injury and death, not just maintain the status quo.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    This all sounds horrible, I’m so sorry you had to go through so much hassle for such a simple thing.

    So many problems come down to the level of complexity and chaos caused by multiple levels of responsibility – the inevitable result of applying free market rules or mixed public/private systems in healthcare.

    Maybe those in the UK can chime in, but from what I’ve heard from my UK friends getting the shot has been relatively straightforward and easy – I’ve just heard one story of confusion that seemed to come about from a friends father falling between categories, meaning he had a few problems getting an appointment, but otherwise its been ok.

    Here in Ireland we have a horribly misfiring hybrid health system, where mix of private operators are funded through the public purse directly, indirectly (via subsidised insurance) and through private insurance. But the policy of waiting for a few months to get the system in shape seems to have worked, and and the fairly intense 3 month (April to June) strategy for mass vaccination seems to be going smoothly, despite a ransomware attack causing chaos with other systems. I’ve not heard of any problems with people getting a slot or having to wait or having any long queues or paperwork (in fact, there is almost no paperwork at all, you just register online and turn up). People can either register on the central public system or go through their local doctor.

    I’m midway through getting Pfizer (I wasn’t given a choice). My local GP doc’s receptionist phoned me and asked me to come along on a particular date – when I queried why I was apparently queue jumping she told me that due to past asthma medication I was considered a priority. There was a slightly chaotic wait (my local doctor primarily deals with very poor patients with a lot of drug addicts, so they have additional issues to deal with), but the shot itself was straightforward and efficient, and my wait was in a corridor with all fire doors and windows open to let lots of air circulate (clearly, my doctor is an aerosol believer). I get my second shot on Monday. So far as I know, the next wave of people (in their 40’s) are being given a wider choice, including J&J.

    1. R

      A UK report:

      – booking
      Some challenges but partly self inflicted.

      There are two routes, through your GP, at their surgery and on their invitation, or nationally via NHS website at a mass vaccination centre. In both cases only people in cohorts open for vax can book (by descending age plus clinical vulnerability and some very limited employment status – nuclear power plant workers were vaccinated before the vaccines were on general release!). I went online because I am impatient.

      The local venue, unbeknownst to me, was being taken back for its usual purpose (county showground) and was winding down and a replacement venue being spun up. So I found it hard to get slots locally and accepted a slot 1hr’s drive away, then told a friend to come with me and he could not get a slot there but could book locally! Grr! I cancelled road trip and rebooked for local venue but only ten days later because all slots had gone. :-(

      The booking system just requires your NHS number or your name and postcode used for your registration with GP. Very simple, potentially open to impersonation. Once you confirm you are you (!), there is a final request for your postcode of location, in order to present your nearest venues. I did try with my London office and was offered the Science Musem :-) I choose to stay local rather than drive to London for vax (but my ex boss has come back to UK from EU for his shot via NHS…).

      You then select a five minute window for your appointment. At which point it tells you to be there half an hour early, necessitating in my case a step back and choosing again. You book your second dose (AZ) next. You then get an email of your appointment details and two appointment reference numbers. The whole vax appointment system is separate to NHS system and minimal data is being ported between them.

      Changing a booking can be done in advance but cannot be done on the day, only cancelled. Rebooking requires 24h wait from cancellation, not sure why but it means slots get wasted needlessly for IT reasons when people mean well and try to notify of inability to attend. The whole process can be done by telephone but the handler is using the same system with the same limitations.

      I could only get a second appt 12 weeks and 80 miles away, when we are away. Periodic checking to rebook then showed appts 8 weeks away, in line with accelerated vax programme, and at new local centre, which has now taken over from the county showground.

      – vaccination
      Drove up, followed lots of high viz ground handlers’ directions, parked, went into lobby with four desks, recited appointment number (to astonishment of girl who said everybody has to get phone out, like grannies with purse at checkout), went straight through into exhibition hall, queued for five minutes, went to desk checking recent other vaccinations, COVID symptoms, allergies, caused confusion by asking about egg yolk and macadamia nuts (ingredients list for AZ does not contain any!), went queued two mins, went to nurse, sat in chair, chose arm, got jabbed, took card, left, sat in chair in exit area for fifteen minutes (watching big brother digital clock on huge screen), drove home.

      Total time 1 hr of which 30 mins driving and 28 minutes queuing or sitting while waiting for anaphylactic shock.

      – effects
      I breezed through my teenage vaccinations, holiday jabs etc. So was very surprised to feel run over by a bus. Started 18h after jab, lasted two days. Just felt rubbish, shivery at times, tired, not hungry. Curled up in bed and Read Saramago’s “blindness”, about a epidemic of blindness (clinically and allegorically).

      – cost

  3. Jen

    Wow. That is appalling.

    I got my J&J at a state run clinic here in NH and it could not have been easier. They ran it at the motor speedway in Loudon. They had six lanes set up on the race track for vaccine, and the you drove about 1000 feet where they had a second 6 lane queue for post jab observation. I was in and out in 30 minutes. Never had to get out of my car. The only annoying thing was having to get a QR code to show you had an appointment, but as I was fumbling for my phone, the EMT who was handling the intake in my lane said “we’re not checking, so don’t worry.” It would have been more disruptive to pull someone out of the line than let them go through.

    1. curlydan

      it seems to me that the real problem is having insurance and getting it at a well known pharmacy that must be getting some money on the back end for jabbing you. CVS needed a “prescription” card when my kids got jabbed a couple weeks ago. I’m thinking, this isn’t a prescription, so why on earth would you need a prescription card?

      P.S. CVS is a true vampire organization. I recently got one prescription recently that I only really need in winter, and I get weekly if not daily calls and texts for refills and urges for more drugs to control “side effects”.

      1. Nikkikat

        CVS also asked for my Medicare prescription card. I supplied the Medicare card number and told them I didn’t have a prescription drug plan. (I do but I saw no reason they would need it.) This has NOTHING to do with a drug plan since the US Gov is paying. I think they were simply trying to get as much information as they could out of people for their own data.

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Providers may bill insurance companies et al. for the costs of administration, not for the vaccine itself. Period.

        1. The Historian

          I asked my medical provider why they required my insurance and Medicare cards since I thought the vaccine was free. They told me the vaccine medicine is free but administrative costs including the application of the vaccine is not and that they will bill my insurer for those costs.

        2. lyle

          If on medicare the governemnt will pay but a different branch of the government than if you have no insurance. If you get it on medicare you will sooner or later get an explanation of benefits saying that medicare part B paid $x for the administration of the shot. The point was that if you have insurance that will pay for the administration, the law says take it from that pot rather than the pot of money for covid-

  4. Scott

    Ditto in NJ. I live in a county well known for its corruption but somehow they created a model vax process. Online registration was simple – the only early challenge was getting an appointment.

    I had my appointment in what used to be a Sears dept store and it was like a machine. Well spaced out lines, easy check-in process – they just needed the confirmation number or had to look up your appt, no new forms and helpful volunteers. Even the 15 minute wait at the end was managed well.

    1. cocomaan

      Everything on this blog reminds me of Duncan’s analysis of the ancien regime. Covid amplified class divides. Question is, how long does the ancien regime last? Could be hundreds of years.

  5. Phil Sayers

    Scottish resident here. Got a letter from the NHS, with date, time slot and where to go to get first shot last month. Held in local university car park, 2 minutes drive away. Show up, someone checked I had the letter, move to main vaccination area, was asked which shoulder I wanted to get the jab in, said left one, as I’m right handed. Got the shot, waited 15 minutes to see if any side effects, then went home. 25 minutes in total, including travel. Left arm was very sore next day, and felt like I was brewing something, which all passed day after.
    Only vaccine on offer at this location was the Oxford/ Astra Zeneca one, this meant when it was my wife’s turn, she had to travel further to a Hospital which had the vaccine suitable for breastfeeding mothers, which took about an hour there and back. God Bless the NHS

    1. wilroncanada

      When I was asked what arm, I replied to the student nurse administering the shot, “have you heard of ambidextrous?” She replied yes, of course. So I said, “It doesn’t matter which arm, because I’m ambisinistrous, equally inept with either hand.”

  6. vlade

    Here in the CZ, it was chaotic to start with in Jan. Very chaotic. A website + SMS registration when the first cohort was 80+ and requiring to travel to a vaccination site (=almost always a relative needed)? Shambles.

    But it got gradualy sorted, and when I was getting my jab (Pfizer. Went to a centre that was running Pfizer + a few Moderna, didn’t get a choice) two weeks ago, the process worked extremely smoothly. Registration very easy and I had an appointment on the day I wanted (and could have had an appointment literally the next day, did I wish so, but I wanted Friday) time I wanted no problem.

    Got a bit of a scare when I got to the place and saw a long queue, but shortly I saw the system – they basically had time slots in 10 minutes, and all booked for that time slot were invited inside at once, and “processed” as one batch, very efficiently, with extremely friendly staff, in a large gymnasium (very tall ceilings, 10m+). It took 40 minutes normally, included the post-jab wait, I was told to wait 30 minutes due to alergies.

    I had some side-effects over the weekend (which is why I wanted the jab on Fri), but all was ok on Monday. Next dose end of June.

    This week it vaccination opened to 30+ (non priority), and it’s the first cohort where there isn’t that much intrest in vaccination. 50+ are >50% first dose, with the older cohorts (65+) have 70+% vaccination rates.
    Registrations at 40+ (which were opened before) currently run at close to 50%. Total vaccination rate (at least one dose) is right now 40% of the total population > 16 yr. So quite far from herd immunity.

    That said, I know that some people are putting off the vaccination till late June, so that their max protection kicks in September (sort of expecting next wave in the autumn).

  7. Thomas Connors

    I don’t understand with the endless adverse reaction reports why anyone at this stage would participate in the experiment.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Thanks for the warning. I think I’ll continue on the present course, which is to keep my own health in tip-top shape while continuing to wear the mask in indoor spaces with questionable ventilation and practicing social distancing.

      2. lyle

        By now we have had a vast number of shots administered so adverse reactions have been noted. Note that the adverse reactions occur in 1 out of 100000 people or so. (worst case numbers) to 4 out of 1,000,000 people (best case numbers) (pfizer and modena. far less than the odds of getting covid if you are not vaccinated.
        As to waiting by now with over 200 million doeses administered any bad reactions would have been documented and their odds occur. I like one statement I saw that the odds of getting a bad reaction from the vaccine is less than getting struck by lighting.

        1. flora

          Well, we must each assess the risk/benefits for ourselves based on our own medical and family medical histories, imo.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Out of curiosity, is there any payment that has to be made for any of these vaccines? Yves mentions the staff having to check with her Cigna plan and her mother’s Medicare before, finally, getting their shots. At the same time I have seen video clips of soldiers just going into stores and giving shots to anybody willing to stick their arm out. So what is the go here? Does it depend on what State you live in or if you are part of a plan or program?

    1. marym

      It’s supposed to be free whether or not the person is insured. Providers aren’t supposed to refuse anyone who doesn’t have insurance or provide insurer information. They can bill insurers or a federal program for the uninsured for an administrative charge. I think for Medicare Advantage they bill Medicare, not the Medicare Advantage insurer, which is probably (this is after all the US) a better deal for Medicare Advantage insurance companies even though it’s an added burden of documentation for their health care “customers.”

    2. Hepativore

      In my area of Rochester, MN a lot of vaccine distribution centers would ask for your insurance card because they would charge a $40-$60 “administrative fee” to your provider even if the vaccine itself was technically free. If you were uninsured, you would have to pay this administrative fee up front or would not accept uninsured people.

      As I am uninsured, I had to do a lot of looking around in town for a place that did not tack on this administrative fee so I finally got my vaccine at the local civic center.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think it may be due to the reimbursement process for the provider. The main local shot center that did 1000 people each Saturday was run by the local health department which received money. Besides the shadiness of information collection, my guess is Walmart type outfits are being reimbursed and need to prove they performed the shot.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for your answers guys. I was seeing a lot of variation on vaccine deliveries in the news which made it confusing. So it all depends on where you are and who is actually offering to administer these vaccines. Sounds like you have to shop around too. But that “administrative fee” sounds like a rort.

  9. KommieKat

    My wife and I got the J and J shot at a local FEMA site and it was a snap. Same thing for my daughter several weeks later.

    It was set up in the parking lot of a local community college. The college itself was closed. Got there early, waited a while in the queue. They had a lot of the queue inside tents and had heat on a cold day.

    All the uniformed staff (camo) were polite and efficient. All we had to show was a driver’s license.

    Had originally planned to go the Publix route but glad we went with FEMA. Sometimes the federal government does get some stuff done better than our vaunted private sector.

    1. antidlc

      “Had originally planned to go the Publix route but glad we went with FEMA. Sometimes the federal government does get some stuff done better than our vaunted private sector.”

      I went to a large drive thru site that was originally run by the county health department but was then taken over by FEMA.

      So sorry to hear about the problems people have had.

      Our experience was truly unbelievable. We signed up online, got an email with our appointment time and a QR code they scanned upon arrival at the site. The operation was incredibly well-run — sixteen lanes of cars. Total time for me from the time I arrived until the time I left was 30 minutes, and that included the 15 minute wait time after the shot.

      I didn’t want to have to go to a pharmacy, so I was lucky I had a drive-thru option.

      I never had to show an insurance card. I just showed up with my confirmation QR code.

      I was truly impressed with the whole operation. I heard (but cannot verify if it’s true), that the county dusted off its H!N1 plan, tweaked it and got the operation up and running very quickly.

      The only problem is that you had to take Pfizer. You did not have an option (at least when I went).

      Wishing Yves all the best on her upcoming surgery.

  10. griffen

    From a reliable source, NC provided his two shot Pfizer routine without requiring insurance info. This older brother has no comorbidity concerns and remains quite active for nearly 59.

    I’m in SC and apparently can make an appointment when so desired,planning on the Moderna vaccine. Not hesitant per see but concerned about a later booster shot.

    Best wishes on the pending surgery.

  11. orlbucfan

    I got both Moderna vaccinations here in east central FL at a Publix Pharmacy. My husband made the appointments on a desktop pc. The experience wasn’t bad at all. The staff was very pleasant and competent both times. They also insisted that I sit for 30 minutes after getting each shot to check for possible side effects. I am immuno-compromised so that was highly appreciated. Both trips averaged less than an hour. The only side effect experienced was a moderate soreness around the injection point for a couple of days. I am on traditional Medicare with a supplemental backup. There was no problems with the paperwork. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

  12. jrkrideau

    First Oxford Astra Zeneca shot in April in Ontario Canada, at my closest , very small, Rexall pharmacy.

    Fairly straight-forward on-line enrollment about a week before the appointment, requiring my OHIP (medical insurance) number. Email and text reminder day of appointment. I was a 10 minute walk to the pharmacy and, somewhat to my surprise there was no line-up.

    Presented OHIP card to cashier, had about a two minute wait and done. I used the the 15 minute recovery period to buy some batteries and toothpaste.

    No discernible reaction.

    Given our provincial gov’t I was expecting much more chaos but I guess they kept the Premier away from everything.

  13. Tom Bavis

    We were visiting in Blacksburg Virginia for a few months, a college town. Signed up when senior appointments became available in March. Unlike New York, they didn’t care where I live. (in NY, I’d need to get it in my county) First shot took a while – I think they were setting up for the first time at the civic center and it took an hour and a half total. Second was less than a half-hour including the 20 minute wait for side effects. Side effects both times: a little soreness in the arm the next day.

    They wanted Medicare card, not Medicare Advantage. I’m sure it’s easier to work with one payer when possible.

  14. LAS

    In NY, the state requires certain information be collected to receive the vaccine. Even though technically you don’t need to have insurance, it is very important to the various government entities paying to get back whatever reimbursement they’re entitled to b/c they have been so cash strapped by the pandemic — incremental expenses and loss of tax revenue.

    Not saying that’s Publix thing, but could be contributing to the confusion you experienced.

    It sounds like the team that serviced you were new to the task that day, learning the protocol, and feared to miss collecting something their protocol seemed to require.

  15. David

    Here in France, the problems at first were of supply as much as anything else, but they were sorted out. I received an email from the local branch of the health organisation responsible for me with a vaccination voucher useable at any pharmacy or paramedical centre. I called in on the local pharmacy and left my number. An hour later they called me to say they had some shots of vaccine left at the end of the day, and would I like to come along? I did so (it was AZ), and was seen a few minutes later. I always carry my medical records card (with a microchip readable by special machines) and my health insurance top-up card, and I was registered with the pharmacy anyway. The admin took about two minutes, and of course I paid nothing: 100% of the costs are paid by the government. You can now make appointments for vaccination on the same national site used for doctors’ and dentists’ appointments.

  16. Elizabeth

    I got my J&J shot last Friday at a local pharmacy (Hy-Vee grocery – a large chain in the midwet). I didn’t make an appointment, just walked in and told pharmacist what I wanted. She gave me a form to fill out (health questions), and asked for my Medicare card. After that, I was directed to a waiting area – waited for about 10-15 minutes. Staff member came out and administered the shot – then I was told to wait for 20 minutes. The whole thing was very well organized, for which I was pleasantly surprised. I was ambivalent about getting the vaccine, but may have to travel to an out-of-state Dr. later this summer, and like Yves, I thought it a big risk.

    There is a really good website called “vaccines.gov” which makes it very simple to find which locations and what brands of vaccines are available. All you have to do is type in your zip code and it brings up all the locations that have the particular brand of vaccine you want.

    I’m still wearing my mask and will continue to do so – I don’t plan on changing any of my self-protections (hand washing, masking, avoiding indoor crowds). I trust myself more than any of the “experts.”

    Good wishes for a successful surgery, Yves.

    1. ProNewerDeal

      Elizabeth, thanks for sharing that vaccines dot gov link

      I searched by zip, for the J&J. 1st result pharmacy phone number did not allow for talking to a Live Human.

      2nd link was Jewel-Osco. The process was Smooth As TN Whiskey TM & quick. Shout out to Dr. Ghandi & Technician Amy. I was wondering, wow, is this what CAN-style Medicare4All is like? Surreal as to how Easy Like Sunday Morning TM it was.

      Thanks Yves for sharing about the J&J. You are a world-class Critical Thinker and so well informed & read. I highly value your opinion on this topic.

      I still plan to use the KN-95 mask indoors. I would like to see prevalence dip below 1 or at least 7 daily cases/100Kpersons. My county is still at 13. In my view Community Spread is still excessively high.

      Shouts out to Elizabeth, Yves, & the entire NakedCapitalism Crew.

  17. Synoia

    In Socal (Orange County) I got my first shot at the beginning of February, and my second at the end of Feb. The Inoculation site was a Disneyland Car Park, and the organization body the Orange County Health authority.

    One bad afternoon following the second shot.

    They built a web site, Othena.org, for the process and record keeping, which was up and running quickly.

    They all deserve praise, it went very well.

  18. JayBee

    Sorry for you problem. I would rate our experience with the Publix vax program as A+. They have provided millions of doses here in Florida.

  19. Erelis

    Went to Rite Aid close to me which I use for all my prescriptions. Posters announced they now had J&J. Went online and got an appointment for next day. Went to register and took ID and prescription card. Look like appointments were not for individuals but for group as about 10 or so people showed up. I think the count was low as I registered just as the chained started offering the vaccine. In about 15 minutes got the vaccine. No side effects. Not even sore arm. I have my official CDC vaccine passport.

    But a word about side effects. As more people around me get the mRNA vaccines, hearing about side effects. My observation is based solely on talking to people around me at work, family, clerks, etc. So my anecdotal conclusion is that people getting Pfizer and Moderna should be ready to get sick. No they won’t die, but chances are at least 50% will have to miss work, spend a horrible night sleepless with a fever, extreme soreness, brain farts lasting hours, etc. For example, needed repair on my car. Went to my mechanic and he said two of his guys had to miss two days of work because the Moderna vaccines made them sick. My mechanic had Moderna and no side effects.. A coworker was incapable of working for three days across two shots of Pfizer. His daughter, nada.

    The way all of these symptoms are glibly explained away is that the illness people suffer is proof that the vaccine is working. Seems like BS to me.

  20. William Hunter Duncan

    In Minnesota, yesterday I went to the MegaMall, Mall of America, in the former Bloomingdales site, which I thought was apropo for the generalized collapse of Western Civilization.

    That said, I had a 3:45 appointment, and with observation I was out of there by 4:10.

    I got the Phizer. Which later got me thinking about all the talk about ultra-cold storage, and the industrial conveyor belt style of the proceedings. Anyway today I feel like that period when I know I just caught something that is nasty but the full symptoms haven’t settled in yet.

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