Colorado Couple Face Frustrations Trying To Sign Up For Vaccines

Her frustrations were directed at Kaiser Permanente, which told her, and CBS4, it was the state. Essentially true. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment set up a system which calls for people to sign-up and meet criteria.

“They just wouldn’t budge,” said 85 -year-old Shirley Schley. She shared the story of trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for her herself and her 90-year-old husband Wick Downing.

They have had a rough time with hour after hour of effort to try to get vaccinated. Schley and her granddaughter have been at it for a while.

“I just can’t believe that they have to be so rigid or they have such a complicated system that they can’t veer off for somebody like him.”

The system they’ve instructed vaccine providers is to sign people up one at a time. The reasoning is if one person signs up, their odds of being picked in random selections is equal if all others are only one person. If people are allowed to bring along a spouse or friend for a vaccine, that means two people got a vaccine for one sign-up.

The odds would weigh in favor of those people over single elderly people living alone.

Schley was frustrated by the lack of understanding of their plight. She had enough trouble just navigating the sign-up, she told us CBS4 she and Wick drove the unnerving distance through rush hour traffic to Lone Tree for her appointment at a Kaiser Permanente clinic.

She tried to sign Wick up, but ended up signing herself up six times.

“Today they called me three times,” she said. “I could have had three appointments today.”

It turns out Downing’s opportunity would come much later.

“I thought I signed my husband up at the same time. They’re saying I didn’t, that I signed him up a week later… he doesn’t have an appointment.”

When Kaiser Permanente called, she asked if Downing could fill one of her extra appointments.

“’We can’t do that, he doesn’t have an appointment yet,’” she said they told her. “I said, ‘Can’t you make an exception because he’s 90 years old, and we have to drive 25 miles to get to it? ‘Oh no we can’t do that,’” she said.

There was even an appointment available she says 15 minutes from her own. No go.

When they arrived, two of the nurses told them they’d see what they could do, left the room and then came back. Again the answer was no.

Downing still does not have a scheduled appointment, but is glad his wife got vaccinated.

“But for me it was just a total waste,” he told us. “Unnecessary. It seemed unnecessary, and it was something that it seems that easily have done and wouldn’t do.”

Kaiser Permanente spokesman Nicholas Roper sent a statement directing CBS4 to the Department of Public Health and Environment saying in part:

“Once someone reserves their spot, the next step is they are contacted according to their place in the reservation line to schedule a vaccine appointment once they are in an eligible phase and vaccine supply is available. It sounds like in this case, the couple could have signed up to reserve their vaccine spots at different times which means they would not be contacted at the same time to schedule and receive their vaccine. We are following the state’s guidelines to appropriately vaccinate everyone according to when they reserved their spot.”

CBS4 also sought a reply from the CDPHE, asking whether there might be reconsideration of sign-up procedures to allow people like Schley and Downing to arrange vaccines together.

CBS4 has not received a reply.

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