Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Bungled vaccine roll-out is shameful

Tuesday, May 11, 10am – 2.5 hours after the vaccine portal was opened for 27-28-year-olds.

As a 27-year-old who has been staring at a screen for over three hours, waiting for the crashing vaccine portal to move in some way, any way, I am beyond outraged.

How can a European country with one of the smallest populations in the bloc be forcing its people to fight over vaccines on an online platform that doesn’t work?

And how can that same government be boasting about how fast it has been moving through the age groups, when it has blatantly left out a significant percentage of each tier because they have not been able to make the portal work for them?

As my circle of friends strategises on the best ways to comply with the queue system and maintain our place in line, without overloading it for everybody else, one thing has become clear: nothing about this ‘new and improved anti-crash’ queue system has been well thought out.

Some said they were at the front of the queue and logged in, ready to book their appointments, only to be kicked out and placed at the back of the line. Others reported that the queue froze completely. I myself never stood a chance, starting all the way at number 10,000 for no apparent reason, despite being up and waiting since 7am.

Where is the logic to this system? How is it possible that my 63-year-old, immune-compromised stepmother still can’t secure a vaccine because of the very same portal that is now just as incompetently refusing to allow me to book mine?

Legend has it that in the UK, you receive a nice, polite letter in the mail informing you that it is your turn to come in for a vaccine. Heck, even in Lebanon, the country reeling from economic collapse where petrol and bread have become a scarcity, the government respectfully and cordially informs the public when it’s time for their shots.

And yet, here we are in good old Kypros, being shamed by our government for not getting vaccinated sooner, being locked down with the right to one message a day over Easter to give us permission to exit our homes, facing this gross incompetence daily and all the while being expected to clap the health ministry for getting to 28-year-olds by early May.

And tomorrow, here we’ll all be, listening to the minister gushing about how we will open the portal for 26-25-year-olds because we’ve successfully vaccinated the 27-28 group.

Except we haven’t. Because I and many others like me across all ages could not get the unresponsive portal to respond to any of our furious clicks. And now, we don’t even have the faintest idea as to when our turn will come around again.

I suppose until that information comes to light, we’ll have plenty of time to restrategise for the next time we’re called upon to fight to the death for a vaccine. After all, there’s only so much you can do when you’re roasting in the summer sun in a rapid test queue for an hour every 72 hours.

The handling of this roll out has been inexcusable. This whole process has been nothing short of humiliating and exhausting for every citizen who has tried to go through it.

So to the government: it’s time you stop blaming us for not getting vaccinated. And if you’re not going to do that, at least have the decency to stop gaslighting us and acting like this colossal mess has been a giant success.

Reem Bacha

 

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