FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – George Kirkman said he showed up at his appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday early, but still he was turned away.
“I was there early at 3 o’clock, 5 minutes later they turned us away and said they had run out of vaccine,” Kirkman said.
Kirkman was one of many seniors who were shut out of state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites in Broward County following a so-called scheduling glitch. Local 10 News has learned that those affected by the glitch will be redirected to Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale starting Thursday.
There are plans to open Holiday Park to additional community members 65 and older by appointment starting Tuesday.
So many seniors have contacted Local 10 to tell us stories of the difficulties they are having making an appointment, which can only be done through web portals, and also from others who are trying to help them.
Matthew Porter, 63, has been frustrated trying to make an appointment for his 86-year-old mother. He was trying to get her a vaccine through Jackson Health System’s online platform.
JHS is no longer taking appointments with a notice that states: “We have booked more than 12,000 vaccine appointments. Currently, all of our COVID-19 vaccination appointment slots have been filled, and we are not taking any new appointments at this time. Please return to this page routinely for ongoing updates as we receive additional vaccines.”
“My mother is not technologically savvy and so, little things, like putting in her birth date, which required clicking on a little arrow in a box — she didn’t understand how to do that,” Porter said.
“The website wasn’t designed very well and I have to confess, I am not particularly technologically savvy either, so it took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on,” Porter said.
The state’s emergency management division director has described the vaccine rollout as a “decentralized effort.”
“Health care is delivered at the local level. You are talking about hospitals, county health departments, pharmacies, thousands of different providers,” said
Porter, who has been battling the system says, “There is no coordinated plan,” he said.
So many we’ve spoken with said the patchwork of vaccine distribution strategies across hospital groups and counties is confusing.
A frustrated Porter said: “I think it is passing the buck. Someone has to step up and say ‘I am in charge and this is how we are going to do it.’ "
We asked him if he is looking for accountability.
“I am,” he says.