MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida residents who are trying to secure an appointment slot to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are airing their frustrations over reports that seniors from outside the country are traveling to the state to get their shots.
In emails sent to 7News, viewers wrote they were upset about residents from other countries who are reportedly taking advantage of not requiring to prove residency in Florida to receive the vaccine.
The reports have garnered headlines on both sides of the equator. Clarín, Argentina’s largest newspaper, published a story about wealthy Argentines coming to the Sunshine State to get vaccinated, all because “they don’t have to justify residency.”
A story that aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation states, “Snowbirds who headed to Florida this winter, despite Canada’s advisory not to travel abroad during the pandemic, have discovered an unexpected perk: they can sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The reports have left Florida resident Alana Markus demanding answers.
“Why should we, as the taxpayer, be paying for all these people when we can’t get it for ourselves?” she said.
Markus was born in Canada but is currently a full-time Floridian and U.S. citizen. She said her sister flew in to South Florida from Montreal this winter to stay at her second home, and this week was able to get vaccinated.
When asked if she was upset at her sister or the system that allows her to get vaccinated, Markus replied, “Our system is so wrong. I am a senior myself. I have not been vaccinated. I have been trying for days to get online through Memorial [Healthcare System], through Broward Health. I cannot get an appointment.”
America’s vaccine program is funded by federal tax dollars, so those paying federal income tax are paying for the vaccine program.
The state government is already facing criticism for a chaotic vaccine rollout, with crashed websites and seniors waiting in long lines.
These reports just adds to the overall frustration, Markus said.
“If we had a surplus, that’s a whole other story, but we don’t,” she said, “so, for now, I think the American citizens are the ones who should be getting those vaccines first.”
Clarín reporter Javier Firpo said he knows of 12 people from Argentina who will be staying in Florida for a month, giving them enough time to receive both doses of the vaccine.
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