Post #1063: Vaccine appointments and poor web design

Posted on March 18, 2021

Finally.  After months of waiting, today I’m going to the local arena to claim my dose of COVID-19 vaccine.  All I have to do now is kill twenty-three competitors in hand-to-hand combat.

I have to admit it.  When I leaned that I had to go into an arena to get vaccinated, the first thing that came to mind was the Hunger Games.  Lock a couple of dozen geezers in a big room, give it a few days, and the last one standing gets the vaccine.

OK, not quite.  But I am heading to an arena — in this case, the sports complex at George Mason university.  But I suspect it’ll be more a test of how long I can wait in line, rather than straight-up combat skills.

There was, however, one accidental survival-of-the fittest aspect of this.  And it’s one that I flunked.  But, luckily, my wife got right.  So I thought I’d bring this up, in case you’re waiting for your notification from Fairfax County.

When you finally get your notification to make an appointment to get vaccinated, the County directs you to sign up at your appointed location.  I immediately went as direct to the sign-up website, but found that all the appointment slots had already been taken.  I figured I’d have to try again tomorrow.

But my wife spotted something pretty damned important, but that I overlooked on the Fairfax County vaccination appointment website:  While it’s phrased as and looks like a site that they direct you to, it’s actually an un-labeled drop-down menu of all vaccination sites If the site that Fairfax directs you to is already booked, just look for another one.  The next-nearest site for us was the George Mason arena, and they had plenty of open spots, starting the very next day.

I’d love to show you a screen shot, but I can’t re-use the link to that website once I’ve scheduled an appointment.

The upshot is that if you’re scheduling an appointment via Fairfax County, even though they given you no clues whatsoever, you can pick the site at which you choose to receive your vaccine.  And if the site they direct you to is booked, just pick another one off the un-labeled drop-down menu.

My wife and I signed up to be vaccinated on 2/2/2021.  It took considerable time for Fairfax to work through the initial backlog, but my impression is that they’re catching up at a pretty good clip now.  If you signed up just after 2/2/2021, you’ll get your appointment soon enough.