Letters to editor for Saturday, March 6, 2021

Readers write about access to COVID vaccination in SW Florida and other topics…

Letters to editor for Saturday, March 6, 2021 1
Letters to editor for Saturday, March 6, 2021 2

Letter writers
 |  Naples Daily News

Couple called, registered, got vaccine

Following a friend’s advice, on Feb. 18, in separate calls, my wife and I contacted the Florida COVID Vaccine Scheduling Support Line at 866-200-3468. After responding to audio prompts concerning age, residence, phone number, email address, allergies and our agreement to follow COVID guidelines, we were able to make COVID vaccine reservations.

On March 1, we received a phone call from a person at the Vaccine Scheduling Support Line who confirmed our reservation data and scheduled us for vaccination March 4.

On March 2, we received text and email messages containing instructions to “click here” to see and print the map to the vaccination site and to “click here” to pre-register for the vaccine and to print our pre-coded registration forms. I strongly encourage you to do this, because it will speed you through processing lines.

On March 4, we arrived at the vaccination site at 8:35 a.m. for 8:45 and 9:15 appointments.  With coded registration forms in hand and masks on, we were both vaccinated by 8:50 and on our way home at 9:07. It was an extraordinarily efficient and well-done process. 

Barry R. Schupp, Fort Myers

Retired Marine officer, 84, frustrated

I’m 84, have afib and heart disease and have had several heart operations at NCH Baker. At precisely noon, I clicked on the NCH program to register for the COVID shot  at NCH North and was told all times had been taken. I then tried the Baker button and was told I don’t qualify. I tried again and got the “all times taken.” 

I don’t understand how a site can tell you the exact time to try to register and when you type in at the exact time, 1,200 slots already are filled. 

I tried to register with the Naples VA; right after Christmas, I called and was told I would be put on a list for the vaccine. I called a couple of days later and was told the VA in Naples would be giving the shots the next week and I would be called.

I heard nothing, called them again and was told I was not on the list and I could go to Cape Coral or St. Petersburg to get it. My wife called them and was told I was on the list but they weren’t giving the shot. Thirty-two years in the Marines and this is what I get.

Ret. Lt. Col William C. Howey, Naples

‘Drug corporations’ price gouging’

We have spent the last year trying to keep ourselves and our communities healthy amid the worst public health crisis in recent memory. To fight off the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worn masks, socially distanced and avoided seeing our closest friends and family members. 

For people like me with pre-existing conditions, this is especially important. We can’t afford to get sick. I have survived two kidney transplants and all that comes with that.

But big pharma corporations don’t care. They once again are hiking drug prices four times the level of inflation (this letter was submitted Jan. 19), even during a pandemic in which millions of people have lost jobs, income and health care. I rely on my medications to stay healthy and keep going, but big pharma has made it clear they care far more about filling their coffers than making sure everyone has access to medications they need. 

We can’t afford this price gouging, economically or physically. Reforms to stop drug corporations’ price gouging are long overdue. It’s time for our representatives in Congress and the new president to stand up against big pharma’s price hikes. 

(From the vice president of the Southwest Florida Central Labor Council and the president of IATSA Local 647.)

Mark Potter, Cape Coral

A vital reason for Medicare for all

If you have peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer, local oncologists will offer only palliative chemotherapy. According to them, your life expectancy is 3-12 months since there are no large blood vessels in the peritoneum.

However, there is a surgical procedure called CRS that combined with HIPEC can add years to your life and a 25-30% chance of a cure. Local oncologists will generally say it is “controversial,” perhaps because they lose the $150,000 per annum chemo sales for as long as you last.

Most oncological surgeons, however, do not consider the procedures controversial or experimental. Original Medicare will pay for it. The cancer must not have metastasized to distant organs outside the abdomen and you must be in general good health except for the cancer.

The procedure is done at Orlando Regional Medical Center by Dr. Nair, and by some doctors in the Miami area. Only large hospitals with specially trained surgeons offer it.

The surgery is difficult, up to 12 hours. After the cancers are removed, the abdomen is flushed with heated large-particle chemo while you are open.

There is a high degree of morbidity, which gradually improves in 3-12 months. For some it is an option with better outcomes than chemo alone.

Jude Richvale, Bonita Springs

Why make it harder to vote?

The 2020 voting season resulted in one of the most efficient and successful elections in the nation here in Florida. Why? Because of the ability to vote by mail, vote early in person, and submit mail-in ballots in drop boxes. We had high voter turnout, no election fraud, and efficient ballot counting. That is what we want in our democracy, right?

Why then are Gov. DeSantis and Florida Republican legislators proposing to limit these options that make voting more accessible, particularly for working and elderly citizens?

Essential workers, working people and older citizens have begun to understand how Republican policies have hurt us. Three examples:

  • Rick Scott and other Republicans gutted the unemployment compensation system when Scott was governor. This was exposed after businesses laid off workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many workers frustrated by the system and with (delayed or) no benefits.
  • DeSantis favored Republican donors in the COVID vaccine distribution, leaving the rest of us scared and frustrated.
  • DeSantis insisted schools reopen, with no plan to prioritize vaccination of school personnel or implement school safety measures.

The only way Republicans can keep Florida red is to make it harder for us to vote.

Judy Freiberg, East Naples

Biden a ‘cardboard cut-out’ president

Joe Biden is fast confirming his back-door presidency. As evidenced in his primary candidacy, he is an empty shell — “Hide’n Biden” — later lifted along in the election only by a wave of anti-Trumpers. Thank you, politically pure Hollywood, academia, the press and social media for lifting Biden.

Now we live with nobody’s favorite president. What has he done so far? He mostly has bandwagoned into an already successful vaccine development and rollout.  

The borders are out of control. We have no screening process. We’re letting COVID-positive, cartel-documented immigrants jump on buses in Texas to all parts of the blue states and we have no acknowledgement — or awareness? — of a problem in the White House.


No border means no control — of numbers, illness, terrorist inclinations, self-dependency, cost implications, unknown adults claiming parentage and granted entry, or national sovereignty. We’re just a very liberal, open-ended welcoming committee.

Joe was never known for good judgment in foreign and fiscal policies or recently for intellectual competency. We have a cardboard cut-out without knowing who is moving its mouth. Who’s in charge?

Brad Taylor, Naples

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