TAMARAC, FLA. (WSVN) - From an overwhelmed registration site to long lines at a vaccine distribution site in Davie, it has not been an easy task for some South Florida seniors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Before sunrise on Monday, several who hoped to get their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine waited outside of Vista View Park in Davie for hours ahead of their appointment time.
They headed to the site early to avoid any unforeseen issues arising after others were turned away on Sunday, even though they had registered with an appointment.
“I drove by here just to check it out yesterday, and it was a mess,” said one man.
It seemed inevitable, though, as several seniors reported the same issue happened once again.
“I just knew that there were some people that got turned away, so I figured I’d get here early,” said Steve Buckley.
Buckley was among the lucky ones who were able to log onto a site plagued with problems and actually get through.
“I fell in the category of over 65, and then I thought, ‘What the heck? I might as well see if I can sign up,’ and it worked,” he said.
Nancy Fisherman also received her vaccine dose on Monday.
“I just feel a certain amount of freedom and that, like, I made it through all this,” she said.
Like Buckley, Fisherman was able to make an appointment on Sunday before the site went down.
“When I had the appointment, I literally felt like I was on a high all day. I was so happy,” she said.
But not everyone was as fortunate. Eighty-year-old Georgette Bannon said she had booked appointments for herself and her 102-year-old mother, Lillian Sivino, but on Monday morning, they were turned away.
“[My mother] has been in the house since March 11th without going out,” said Bannon. “I told everyone I know, ‘We got in. We’re getting them.’ We get here, [and we’re told], ‘You’re not on the list.'”
The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has since announced it will stop taking appointments until further notice.
The department acknowledged the issues, saying those who weren’t able to get vaccinated would be contacted and would have their appointment rescheduled.
Anyone with an appointment who was not served at the DOH-Broward COVID-19 Vaccination Sites today will be contacted and rescheduled. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
— FLHealthBroward (@FLHealthBroward) January 3, 2021
Those who try and schedule an appointment online will now see a message reading, “The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has provided 26,465 COVID-19 vaccination appointments to individuals ages 65 and over. All appointments have been filled at this time. Please check back to this website often as more sites and appointments will be added over the coming days and weeks. Thank you.”
This is the second pandemic in Sivino’s lifetime. She said she is not discouraged by a vaccination delay.
“If I survived the influenza in 1918, and they refused to give me a shot as a taxpayer, so be it,” she said. “I’ll beat them to it anyway.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said improvements are coming.
“We’ve got to focus on senior citizens, and so, here the seniors are the priority,” he said.
In addition to Vista View Park, vaccines are being offered to people 65 and older in Broward at Markham Park in Sunrise and Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek by appointment only.
COVID-19 vaccines will also be available to residents 65 and older at Kings Point, a retirement community in Tamarac, beginning Tuesday, also by appointment only.
Health officials were hoping to open Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale for vaccinations on Tuesday, but that has been pushed back to Thursday. The location had previously been used as a COVID-19 testing site.
The ongoing rollout of vaccines comes as the FDOH reported 11,256 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
Those who got their vaccine dose on Monday said they felt fortunate and ready.
“It’s awesome,” one man said. “Let’s get this over with.”
Even though all available appointment slots are currently filled, FDOH officials advised people to check back often.
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