FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A new phase in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has begun in South Florida as people 65 and older are now able to get vaccinated along with community healthcare providers, but one hospital is already at capacity.
Broward Health has been offering COVID-19 vaccines to members of the community, however, they announced Wednesday that they have reached capacity for vaccinations through February and are not currently taking any more appointments.
The health system hopes to resume scheduling new appointments in the coming weeks.
Eduardo Heighes, 67, showed up early Wednesday to Broward Health Medical Center for his coronavirus shot.
“You were wondering, ‘When is it going to be my turn?’ And lucky me, today is my turn,” he said.
Heighes said he waited 40 minutes Tuesday on the phone, but he was able to get an appointment Wednesday morning.
He’s one of 5,000 people who are booked to get the vaccine at Broward Health.
“I want to be sure that I won’t be getting COVID,” Heighes said.
Gladys Jaar, 67, also wants to receive the vaccine.
“I don’t know how they get the … I don’t know, maybe it’s like winning the lottery,” she said.
Like many others, Jaar couldn’t reach anyone at Broward Health’s appointment hotline.
“I have called more than 200 times -- nothing,” she said.
Like Broward Health, Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale was slammed with callers and stopped scheduling appointments for people outside its system, leaving folks in limbo.
“Where can I sign myself up that I know it’s my turn, and I know that they will contact me and they know I exist?” Tees asked.
Health organizations are working to meet the demand.
The Cleveland Clinic, Jackson Memorial Health and the Florida Department of Health in Broward and Miami-Dade counties have all announced that they will start giving the vaccine to adults aged 65 and older.
“I really, I really want it,” Jaar said. “I think the benefits are far more than the risk.”