Letter To The Editor: CAPTCHAs & COVID

By DOUG KEMP
Los Alamos

Visitors to the website: www.cvvaccine.nmhealth.org are encouraged to register for the Coronavirus Vaccine. It’s an easy process, until the end. 

Pertinent information is gathered, and a decision must be made about notification: phone, text or email. But then a test must be passed. It’s called a “CAPTCHA”. Presumably, most pass the CAPTCHA. But there are those, such as myself, who fail. And for those who fail, online registration is an impossibility. 

This angers me. Moreover, for those who browse the internet by way of a VPN or the TOR network, I suspect that the bar for passing is elevated.

Fortunately, though, the New Mexico Department of Health allows registration by phone as an alternative. It’s as simple as dialing their phone number and pressing the appropriate options. A live operator is eventually heard, who may at first push reconsideration of the online application process. (I told my operator that I flunked my CAPTCHA and didn’t want to apply online.) A list of questions follows, and a “Confirmation Number” concludes the conversation.

So, my advice is to attempt the CAPTCHA. For the majority who will pass, good; they’re on the waiting list. But for those who flunk, there’s no need for despair. Because there’s no such thing as a telephone CAPTCHA.

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