The Vaccine Lottery
To the editor:
Here are some points that Cape Cod residents may wish to convey to Gov. Charlie Baker and his Covid-19 advisers:
1. Cape Cod residents age 75 and over have been allocated too few doses for the high number of those in the priority 2 group;
2. The websites for making appointments are unduly complicated and often mismatched with the signups at maimmunizations.org. For example, one may find locations with vaccine availability on the Barnstable Health Dept. website that are not listed (or are listed without a signup button) on the state’s website;
3. Gov. Baker’s decision to advance priority 3 to February had the predictable effect of sending millions of new appointment seekers to overloaded websites and help lines. If the governor was trying to subject his elderly constituents to a time-consuming and unwinnable lottery (for most players, at least), he succeeded;
4. Unless Massachusetts can obtain much larger allocations of vaccine in the coming weeks, unvaccinated over-75 residents of the Lower Cape can expect a long wait and probably countless hours of fruitless appointment searching without the protection of vaccine.
I encourage readers to write or phone the governor’s office to express their concerns.
Covid and Mental Health
To the editor:
Re Paul Benson’s article “Provincetown Outlines Extensive Mental Health Plan” [Feb. 11, page 4], I commend Health Director Morgan Clark for her thinking about the mental health needs of Provincetown residents. These needs are increasing and are anticipated to rise post-Covid. We know that isolation and loneliness have caused increased substance use, depression, and other consequences of the pandemic.
Clark rightly points out that mental health clinicians are stretched on the Outer Cape. It might be wiser to concentrate the funds in one place rather than dividing up the money in small grants to various agencies. A five-year plan is ambitious, but as needs change, the plan must be able to change. Flexibility is key.
It would be far better to give $500,000 to one agency with the infrastructure to supervise and support clinicians and bill for services. We should recognize that some needed services aren’t billable, and some in need of service may not have insurance or the ability to pay but must be included.
No program should be funded without clear goals and the ability to monitor and report outcomes on a regular basis.
Thank you, Morgan, for thinking about this need and proposing ways to fund it. We need to prepare for the unpredictable future. This is a thoughtful beginning.
Laura Logue Rood
Provincetown and Boston
A Yankee Remembers
To the editor:
I sent the following letter to the Houston Chronicle this week but don’t expect that it will be published there:
In 1973, newspapers all over Texas reported seeing countless bumper stickers that read “Let the Yankee bastards freeze in the dark” during the oil and gas shortages caused by OPEC.
Today I read that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York had raised one to two million dollars for you guys. While I commend her action because no human being should ever have to freeze in the dark, I’m not inclined to be quite so generous. I’m an 84-year-old Massachusetts Yankee who remembers, and who allows himself the pleasure of reminding you.
And I recognize that you’re blessed with the immensely talented Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott, who will do their darnedest to make sure this happens again.