An after action Discussion
Once we get past the whole feel good and congratulatory phase of the recent Covid inoculations that took place at the Florida Community Health Center on 16 January, we can begin to look at the event for what it was.
A local group of healthcare workers that took their group photo together at 4:30 Pm on the day of the shots, performed their job as trained medical professionals, as it should be. They followed their prescribed protocol and used the same techniques they urge us to do in an effort to do their job. Doing the math they administered one shot every two minutes for the time they were in operational mode. They allowed Ten patients in at a time.
Judging from the fact that they were taking a team photo after the effort, we are going to forecast that the one shot every two minutes is an excellent level of performance, given the nature of their protocol. Not having any foundation for comparison it is hard to evaluate the nature of the effectiveness. Our instincts tell us that they performed admirably and should be proud of their accomplishment. Those who received the vaccines are also grateful for the effort administered in their behalf.
Needless to say, their 9a beginning and 5p close was a full work day for them. Much like it was for most of us.
For others involved in the process the day was more than one day. It did not include the support of a team of fellow coworkers. For many the process started in a damp, drizzly cold January evening around 7P the day prior. One such example is that of a vibrant, alert and well natured 80-year-old woman we met that has requested her name to be left out for obvious reasons. She and her family wanted to make sure that she was inoculated. They also took extra steps to insure it.
First, they booked a room at the local Seminole Inn. Which, conveniently for them is just across the street from the inoculation center. The family members, friends and now strangers, almost 20 in total by 8:30 that evening, began the day long vigil of holding their positions in a line that was rapidly forming behind them. By 3A the next morning over 100+ people were bracing for a cold wait in line.
The woman’s daughter, in her mid-60’s, camped out in the front of the line over night while her 80-year-old mother was protected from the elements at the Inn. Probably better for Mom given her age and the risk of complications from the elements. Pneumonia, cold etc.
Not all people in line had the same ability. There are only so many rooms at the Inn. Many in their 80’s and 90’s braved low temperatures and drizzling rain for hours to make sure they would receive one of the 200 available doses of the vaccine. A group of the first to arrive where local Dental Health Care workers. The entire office came to be vaccinated, according to first hand accounts from some of the office personnel we spoke with that evening.
When we arrived the night before to observe the events and to gather information from the people there, we noticed something that was really very encouraging. The events that were unfolding were strictly organic. The over promotion by social media, WPTV and a local politician created an environment that had people staking their claim 14 hours ahead of time. We spoke with representatives at the Seminole Inn and they indicated several of their rooms were quickly filled by people seeking to have the shot the next day after seeing news report and social media posts by a local politician who used the event to promote himself and his political brand.
Putting aside the politics of discussion on the veracity and effectiveness of the vaccine will serve us all well for this portion of the story. What exposed itself to many of us was far more important than the reason the people were there.
To start with, there were not any designated lines or Government workers there to tell everyone what to do. No pre-planned this and that or frustrating inefficient bureaucratic weight to slow the process.
No one was told to stand here and stay back this far. No one was there except the Americans that came to get a shot. The group of primarily 65+ year old American adults gathered of free will. There was a strong diversity amongst them as well.
They came from a very diverse mixture of economic, religious, political, racial and geographic demographics.
During our hours of time that we and others spent with the people in line we did not observe discussion or arguing over politics. There was no one speaking a little too loud for their neighbor to hear an off-color comment or characterization. No, the group of diverse Americans collected for a common mission, organized, improvised and helped others out in what was a very irregular and unusual situation for everyone.
The demonstration of discipline and consideration that filled the mood of the hundreds of people there was an example to all. It would have been easy to be frustrated and cranky.
There were a few people that did stupid things like stopping in front of the Health Center on a busy State Highway (FL710). It is a four-lane road; it was dark and the people at 5 AM were traveling to work or from a distribution center in large trucks, etc. High risk to say the least.
One near miss and then another prompted the Martin County Sheriff’s office to remove regular patrol coverage from the Indiantown patrols in order to begin handling what was fast becoming a safety issue because of the sheer volume of people in a small place. Their effort to direct traffic was needed at a certain point and appreciated as well. They did not however do anything more than keep things safe for everyone. They did their job. Everyone already knew how to behave and was doing so without big brother there to tell them how.
There was not enough parking, but that was solved after the initial rush and the redirection of people looking for a place in the dark to park. For most it was their first time here and the excitement, darkness and unfamiliar surroundings made the excursion daunting for some.
The MCSO of course handled the situation with professionalism and waited until there was a threat to safety before intervening. Even then they were primarily “hands off” with the crowd and the event other than vehicular and pedestrian safety. As it should be.
There was an authorization for an extra detail opportunity for off duty personnel to act as a special force for the event. From the information we have collected, no deputy accepted the extra duty opportunity. The efforts that were handled that day were from the regular street patrols and force assigned to the Indiantown area. The concentration of their effort however did mean that they were not able to perform their usual beat as normal. We are unaware of any adverse occurrence because of their need to handle the traffic.
Shortly after 8a the health workers began handing out paper work and the first 200 golden tickets to those who had been outside for hours, cold and tired. Those behind them however did not throw a fit or scream when they realized they were 201 and greater. No most stayed in line in the hopes that maybe, just maybe they could get a shot if somehow, they became available. As it turned out there were 240 doses administered and those who waited until after 4p were rewarded by their discipline and effort. Early that morning, rumors were surfacing that the number of available doses had been upped to 300. It offered hope to many and for some it payed off.
One of our conversations was with a health care professional that had traveled from PB County for her chance at the vaccine. We asked her if she felt that the shotgun approach to the administering was as effective from an epidemiological perspective as it would be if a more well planned centralized geographic methodology was used. As we suspected, she agreed that inoculating people that are as geographically dispersed as the crowd gathered was not going to do more than protect just those persons getting the shot. She explained how if the 200 vaccines had been given to people in Indiantown that it would work faster and better towards a quicker and more well thought out solution to the spread. Herd Immunity.
The last point for the purpose of this discussion and for the sake of brevity will be to ask, where do the people that were there for their first-round vaccine shots ensure that they get their second shot as prescribed?
It takes two of these shots to work. So how will those from Illinois, Indiana, Broward, Palm Beach and other points far off handle it? Do they have to return here? The answer is, only if they want to make the first shot do them any good. Each person was given an appointment to return for the second shot.
There are a lot of questions and many personal feelings about this Covid nightmare we are all forced to face together. How we handle it and how we behave when dealing with it has been demonstrated by a class of elder Americans that evidently remember civility, responsibility, tenacity and American Values. Thank you all for being an example.
As we move forward with future inoculations, we encourage the Florida Community Health Center to not enlist the local government as a part of the next event either. When agenda driven politicos and bureaucratic drones start to deal with these types of things, they are far worse than what we as Adults and Responsible Americans can do without them. Overall – a Job well done.
Stay tuned for more.
From Many One