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Elderly people begin to flock to overwhelmed COVID-19 vaccination sites



Miami – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pleaded with eager seniors to wait patiently for their turn to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as the life-saving vaccines available in some of the most vulnerable people in the state caused confusion and frustration.

At vaccinations sites across the state, elderly people lined up — some stayed overnight in lawn chairs and blankets — hoping to gain immunity against the virus. Before the sun even rose on Wednesday morning, a county in southwestern Florida was included in the vaccine supply that day, prompting officials to reject anyone else who arrived.

Elderly people in other parts of the state are frustrated with busy phone lines and websites because they no longer publish new vaccination appointments.

DeSantis has listed Floridians over 65 as the next priority for the state’s vaccine stockpiles, as most healthcare workers and other first responders are protected from the virus that has infected 1

.2 million Floridians .

On Wednesday, health officials reported 13,871 new cases and 139 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 21,857.

The governor said on Wednesday that more than 82% of people who died from the disease were over 65, highlighting the urgency of vaccinating older Floridians.

“The supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is still limited. The governor of Florida said at a press conference in Delray Beach: “We currently do not have enough vaccines for all over 4 million elderly people in Florida. “We will get there, but it won’t happen overnight.” Therefore, please be patient. “

Amid uncertainty over whether the state can obtain more doses of the two currently available vaccines at a faster rate, county health departments and hospitals across the state are scrambling to deliver the vaccine to the elderly.

Lin Humphrey is a university professor. His 81-year-old mother lives with him in a high-rise apartment in Miami. He said it took him about 80 calls to make a call at a Miami Beach hospital that began vaccinating seniors with a limited dose of vaccine last week.

Humphrey said: “It reminds me of the 80s when you had to call the radio station to be the tenth person to get a concert ticket.” “When I finally got on the phone, the woman and I were crying on the phone. Up.”

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, health officials in Li County, where Fort Myers is located, announced that all three vaccination sites had reached the capacity to vaccinate residents over 65 on the third day. Before the health authorities said there was no need to make an appointment, people had lined up outside libraries, entertainment centers and theaters, grabbing one of the hundreds of doses because they would manage them on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Orlando outpost reported that state health officials in Orange County shut down its online portal on Tuesday, which generated 30,000 appointments in approximately 24 hours. The Broward Health hospital network stated that due to overwhelming community demand, it will stop scheduling vaccination appointments on the same day it starts.

90-year-old Abdulla Benkhatar (Abdulla Benkhatar) was at the front line of the line at the entertainment center in Fort Myers on Tuesday morning.

“We have been at home for almost 10 months. For me, it is very important to me, it is very important to my health and being able to do what I like to do and get back to normal.”

As of Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health stated that it had administered approximately 175,465 doses in the state, most of which were medical staff, emergency first responders and residents of auxiliary care facilities.

Beginning Monday, some elderly people in the first eight counties started to get vaccinated and received the vaccine allocation last week. It is expected that 59 other counties in the state will soon begin receiving its vaccine.

In Miami, Jackson Health Systems began administering vaccines for people 65 and older who are receiving treatment on the Internet. Music producer Emilio Estefan (Emilio Estefan), 67, and Miami Dolphins senior vice president Nat Moore (Nat Moore), 69, received the first dose of the vaccine Wednesday in front of reporters at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Jackson Health said it will launch an online platform next week for residents to book appointments for help.

Counties and hospitals have adopted different approaches to vaccine management, causing confusion, frustration and queues.

The governor said: “They will try to solve the problem as before.” “If you are 65 or older, you will be able to use it. It may not be available to everyone today, and it may not be next week. But in the next few weeks, as long as We continue to receive supply, and you will have the opportunity to receive this supply.”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she wrote to DeSantis, suggesting that he mobilize the Florida National Guard to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the slow pace of launch.

She said in the letter: “Although the state received 1,218,300 doses of vaccines, only 15% of them were actually vaccinated.” “The lack of preparation and progress to manage these important life-saving vaccines is inexcusable.

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Ten local journalists, Madeleine Wright, Amy Viteri and Saira Anwer contributed to this report.

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