I recently spent hours on the computer trying to make an appointment for my first COVID-19 shot, to no avail. I then called my pharmacy, which had no available vaccine but advised me the VAMS system is “less than desirable and to be replaced in one or two weeks." They also advised me to call the Aiken hospital, which had added staff to help people who are having trouble using the VAMS system.
The hospital could only advise me to use the VAMS system and indicated the reason the system blocks a user is because there are no available appointments due to lack of the vaccine. I indicated that the VAMS system does not tell the user that and therefore not only confuses the user, it wastes the user’s time. After wasting many hours of my time and the time of all the others I had contacted, I abandoned further attempts to make an appointment for a COVID-19 shot.
My son pursued and finally got me an appointment in Columbia, even though I live in Aiken. I got my first shot at Nephron Pharmaceutical on Feb. 4 and was given a certification card indicating I should receive my second vaccination on or after March 4, making sure the vaccine is Moderna. It seemed logical to make an appointment for the second shot while at Nephron, but I was told that required using the VAMS system.
The VAMS system is a goat rodeo. It should be held up as the prime example of incompetence in the U.S. health care system. In the midst of a pandemic, when availability of a vaccine is problematic, the least the Center for Disease Control should have at the ready is an already tested, cliche free and efficient system for expediting vaccinations as vaccine becomes available. The current VAMS system is an obstruction to public health and welfare.
Dr. Rose O. Hayes