The Last Shall Be Fast
This may be a little late for full effect, but considering that only two percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, it may save some people valuable time. We got our second dose of the vaccine (the Pfizer variety) at exactly the same place and almost the same time as our first. But it took four hours less.
Even with vaccination outlets increasing rapidly, there will likely be long lines as younger people become qualified for their shots. We therefore draw upon our recent experience to offer some insider advice as to how to jump the line. It is: don't get in line, at least not at the same time everybody else shows up. Be patient. Don't show up early.
Getting ready for our second dose recently, we heard from a neighbor that the worst time to show up was first thing in the morning. He said people figured the earlier they checked in, the faster the service. The result was lines starting to form an hour or more before sites open. The result was usually a longer wait than if people came later in the day when the morning rush subsided.
We decided to check this out. The day before our second dose, we showed up at our site - Fort Lauderdale's Central Broward Park on Sunrise Blvd. near the Swap Shot, a little after 8 a.m. It had just opened and the line to enter the park was more than five blocks on Sunrise Blvd. and then turned north on 31st Ave. God only knows how far north it extended. Based on our first experience, we figured it would take at least an hour to even enter the park and join the serpentine line crawling to the vaccination tents on the other side of the park.
We came back around noon and noted that the line, while still backed up on Sunrise Blvd. was only about a block long. We wondered what it might look like in another hour or so. Anyway, our decision was made to show up about 12:30 p.m. We quickly realized we were right. There was no line on Sunrise Blvd. and the column in the park was notably shorter than it had been three weeks earlier. Furthermore, relatively few cars arrived soon behind us. On our first dose, dozens of cars came in right after us.
Good fortune bred good fortune. It was clear the line was not only shorter, it was moving much faster. On our first visit, delays between cars moving were often several minutes; drivers were shutting down engines during long pauses. People left their standing vehicles to make quick trips to the portapottys along the route. This time the stops were much briefer. The whole operation was improved. Kids checked to make sure everybody in line was scheduled for that date, and that everybody was over 65. But when we reached the end of the line, the big reason was apparent. We had not counted the tents administering the vaccine on our first visit, but this time there were obviously more. We counted 11.
The bottom line. We were in and out in just over an hour and a half. The first visit took five hours. Going late might not be as effective as younger people sign up. Our group was largely retirees who could make their hours. Working people might not have such flexibility.
For some, going early may be the only option.
But for many, we are confident the last will be fastest.