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Leon County seniors still frustrated by vaccine distribution process

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 18:25:45-05

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — While the health department works to meet distribution demands, for some seniors their biggest frustration is just getting on the list.

"They said all I had to do was get my name on the list. So I called them. They gave me another number. Told me that was the wrong number. Then they didn't answer," said Theodore Anderson.

It hasn't been easy for Anderson to get on the list. The 69-year-old said he's spent weeks hoping to get a coronavirus vaccine.

He said he tried calling and taking a bus to a local clinic but didn't have any luck. He doesn't have internet at home, so registering online was not an option.

The Leon Department of Health said they've vaccinated 47 percent of the seniors in Leon County. But they're struggling to keep up with the demand.

"Supply has been limited," said Leon-DOH Officer Claudia Blackburn. "Demand continues to outpace supply."

Blackburn said this is leading to 5,851 people still on the waitlist. When it comes to the caseload, the staff is also limited.

"We're averaging 206 cases per day for the last two weeks," said Blackburn. "That's a lot for our staff to investigate."

Blackburn said there is progress, though. The state just launched a new pre-registration portal Friday so anybody eligible for a vaccine from frontline workers to seniors can all apply online by clicking here.

It could still be weeks to get your appointment. Anderson said it's something that should've been simpler.

"The right thing to do would make it easy because when you don't have, you don't have," said Anderson.

If you're a senior who doesn't have transportation to get a vaccine — there's help.

The county has set up a system of volunteer drivers to give rides but you must have an appointment before you call. You can request a ride at (850) 606-1970.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering