Friday, February 26, 2021

A vaccine against confusion and impatience?

by PAUL GRAVES Contributing Writer
| February 12, 2021 1:00 AM

As we stumble our way toward a time when the COVID-19 vaccine is easily available to all who choose to get it, wouldn’t it be great if we could also be vaccinated against the “viral” effects of confusion and impatience? If only we could!

Alas, there isn’t a shot to guard against our confusion or our impatience when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. But we can do some things. 
And they apply to everyone. Already vaccinated persons can be confused and impatient on behalf of those who are still looking for a way to get the vaccine.

Are you confused? Be tenacious about getting accurate information. Verify that the information is as up-to-date as possible. Example: Even as I was writing this column in a public space, I was asked by an acquaintance about where to get the vaccine. I mentioned the Daily Bee article in Tuesday’s edition about vaccines being available at Kaniksu Health Services. So, I suggested he call Kaniksu.

Learn the difference between MISinformation and DISinformation. We’re deluged by so much “information” about the vaccine. So, it’s our responsibility to check on whether sources we trust confirm that information. When we believe certain information is true, and it turns out to be false, we’ve passed along MISinformation. If we pass along information we know is false, we’ve pushed DISinformation.

It’s not always easy to verify the information – especially incomplete information — we’ve heard from friends or the media, or read about. But if we want to be responsible, and not contribute to the general confusion around us, we must do the diligent work. And that takes patience.

Earlier this week, I visited each of the six pharmacies in Sandpoint and Ponderay to find out where they are in the “vaccine pipeline.” Sandpoint Super Drug and White Cross Pharmacy have been able to give a limited number of COVID-19 vaccinations. Safeway, Yokes, Walmart and Medicine Man are all waiting for an allotment of vaccines, but don’t know when those vaccines will arrive.

The vaccines come from two sources: the state of Idaho distributes its supply through the health districts; and there is a “federal pharmacy” source. I don’t know how those sources get their vaccine supply or the criteria they use for deciding how providers get their allotments. But I’m getting closer to satisfying my own impatience about that.

So many people are eager to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Patience for them may be hard to come by. Saying “be patient” almost sounds silly. 
So instead, let your impatience push you to do something you do have better control of: keep getting up-to-date information. Be tenacious to learn more. Regularly check with Panhandle Health District, Bonner General Health, your doctor’s office, your pharmacy.

One source of information for persons who have access to computers will be next Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Zoom Geezer Forum. We will meet 2:30-4 p.m. that day with a panel of folks deeply involved in the vaccine process.

Bonner General Hospital speakers include CEO Sheryl Rickard, Dr. Vince Huntsberger, and coordinators of the BGH Vaccination Clinic Erin Binall and Daniel Holland. Katherine Hoyer, Public Information Officer from Panhandle Health District, will also be on our speaker panel.

Together, we’ll explore accurate vaccine information, incomplete information, and I expect we’ll consider what might be misinformation and disinformation. The conversation will likely be lively. So please join us next Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2:30-4 p.m. Email me to get on the Zoom list for that day. I will send out the invitation link on Monday, Feb. 15.

Paul Graves, M.Div., is lead geezer-in-training for Elder Advocates, a consulting ministry on aging issues. Contact Paul at 208-61-4971 or