Our View: The info must flow | TheUnion.com

Our View: The info must flow

Just when you thought it was safe to go out in public without a mask …

Not quite yet. The appearance of vaccines, and the first few thousand people receiving them, is a reason to celebrate. But it’s not yet a reason to cast aside your mask and start hugging strangers.

We have come a long way, but there’s still a lot of road to walk before our country reaches a point where we can safety dip our toes in regular social norms.

Unfortunately, it appears the states, and the counties within them, are walking at different speeds toward that point. And the convoluted rules California has issued aren’t making it any easier.

Some people in El Dorado County, for example, already have signed up to receive their COVID-19 shot. There’s a date marked on their calendars. They’ll get the shot at a Safeway.

That’s also true for some people using Yuba County’s health care system.

Meanwhile, Nevada County is asking people to sign up for automated text alerts.

Sure, those texts are great. They get good information to people fast.

But where are the plans for drive-through inoculation sites? Should we start calling our personal doctors nonstop to ask for our shots? Should we line up now at the pharmacy?

Nevada County has dropped the life line, and we’re the ones gasping for air, in some cases quite literally.

According to county officials, about 3,000 inoculations have been administered. We need another 3,000 to get shots to everyone in Phase 1A — health care workers and those living in congregate settings.

In comparison, El Dorado County has an online registration portal where people can sign up for shots at specific Safeway stores. You bring your insurance card, you fill out a immunization consent form, and you show up to the appointment.

Of course, there are no more available appointment because as of Monday they were full. That’s what happens when you create a successful system — people want to use it.

Some things are out of our county’s control. For example, we’re not getting enough vaccines. We’d like more, but it’s not up to us. We’re lobbying state officials for them, but as of last week we’re still stuck at 3,000 doses.

Except we know there are more than that, because 2,000 arrived Thursday at the county’s Public Health Office. However, the county’s website — last updated Jan. 13 — didn’t reflect that information.

There are plenty of things in our county’s control, like communication. Yes, the county has created a vaccine page on its website. It issues text alerts anyone can sign up for.

But it’s obvious people don’t have enough of the information they need.

God forbid we suggest another Zoom town hall, but in this case it seems warranted. Open a virtual space for people to listen to county officials, hear from the experts, and then have their questions answered in real time. Then take the recorded meeting and post it online.

The Union could help host this, as could the county or Yubanet, the latter of which has proven more than capable of handling these virtual town halls.

Also, take a page out of the book held by counties like El Dorado, whose website features links to specific stores where people can sign up for vaccinations.

People need more than colorful charts and text alerts. They want to know on a daily basis how many vaccines the county has, how many it’s administered, and when it expects to get more.

More communication and more transparency are essential if county leaders ever hope to reach a point where it is, in fact, safe to go back in the water.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com

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