When vaccination appointments opened up in my condition, I knew exactly what to do. After all, I’ve spent the last year hunting for things like Sanrio Animal Crossing cards and Pikachu-themed Happy Meals.
The fact that these two experiences can be compared at all is confusing, but it is true. The skills I learned during my online efforts helped me maximize my chances of getting a vaccine appointment. First, I compiled a long list of links that connect me to sites that distribute the vaccines. I turned on alerts for a Twitter account and joined a Facebook group that buzzed me every time new appointments opened. And on top of that, I made sure my PC was wired, so I had the fastest internet speed possible. Some of these things may never have happened to me without my hobbies, where subcultures have developed intricate strategies to secure things that sell out in an instant.
“Why get a PlayStation 5 and sign up for the vaccine at the same difficulty level,” jokes a post on Twitter.
Twitch streamer Davie Young told Polygon via Twitter direct messages that getting the PS5 and the vaccine “felt like both a game and an existential crisis.” He spent hours renewing a page just to do the reCAPTCHA tasks over and over again to secure the first dose.
“For PS5, the frustration was just how long it took. I wanted to be ready exact at the moment the supplies would fall, but within 20 seconds everything would be sold out, ”he told Polygon.
When he received the vaccine agreement, he said he was filled with fear and thought to himself: “I can not believe that this is how the process works. It’s like trying to get an exclusive pair of sneakers, but I’m actually trying to save my life and my family’s life. ”
According to various studies, somewhere between 24 and 163 million Americans lack adequate broadband access. Health experts estimate that as many as 90% of the population will need to resist COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity, equivalent to approximately 297 million Americans. But in addition to having broadband access, some people lack the time and technology expertise to carry out this complicated process. There is a division in who can and cannot get vaccinated.
Take, for example, the gap in the vaccination rate between white people and color communities, which is disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Blacks and Latinos are three times more likely to be infected and almost twice as likely to die from the virus as white people.
A recent report from the New York Times shared that the vaccination rate for black populations in the United States is half that of white people, and the gap for Latino people is even larger. Within these groups, community leaders cite a lack of access to e-mail and computers as a barrier to being vaccinated for the elderly, who are the population at highest risk.
It’s not just about having time and access – you also need to know how to deal with technical problems. At one point during my search for the vaccine, it seemed like all the newly opened sites were booked up immediately, within seconds. But I remembered that sometimes, when many people try to load the same thing, the system may load incorrectly. At least that’s what I experienced when I tried to buy Sanrio cards at Target last weekend, when I updated the page, it helped me secure soft benefits. I tried to double check the vaccine’s website and see, after loading a couple of times, it magically appeared.
I got an agreement in the end, but the fact that it took so many plans and mistakes says a lot about the system itself.