Cars are not just a way to get from one place to another. In Florida, for example, seniors are sleeping in their cars, in order to queue up for the coronavirus vaccine. That’s because they’re afraid that vaccine supplies will run short before their turn comes up. In Volusia County, for instance, they could only accommodate 1,000 seniors on a first come, first served basis.
Seniors frantic to get in line at Daytona Stadium, where the vaccine was to be administered, came fully prepared to camp out overnight in order to be one of the lucky ones to be vaccinated. A terrible traffic jam ensued, so that officials opened up the stadium to allow people to camp out in their cars in the stadium parking lot overnight. This seemed preferable to having seniors camping out in their cars on the side of the road!
The stadium gates opened at 6:15 PM Monday evening, January 4, allowing 1,000 seniors to park there overnight. By 6:45 AM Tuesday morning, the stadium had reached capacity. As crazy as all this sounds, the seniors in the 64-acre Daytona Stadium remained in good cheer, knowing they’d secured a spot for the vaccine, even though it meant camping out in cars for the next 12 hours. Many, in fact, waited as long as 19 hours, just to get that all important shot.
We think Florida and we think hot weather. But the night that seniors camped out in the stadium, the temperature dropped into the low 40s. For the most part, however, the people were prepared with blankets and pillows and snacks. Some of them even arrived in full-sized RVs, to camp out in style.
While it certainly couldn’t have been easy for an older person to sleep in a car in cold weather, most felt lucky they’d managed to be there in the first place. Our seniors have spent months in isolation, not able to hug their grandchildren. It’s been a long, hard haul, and they want it to be over. They want to be safe from COVID-19.