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8 On Your Side: Pinellas County ALF residents get results after feeling forgotten in COVID vaccine process

Coronavirus

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is getting results to help the elderly in Pinellas County.

An assisted living facility reached out to 8 On Your Side Thursday feeling their residents and staff were forgotten in the COVID-19 vaccine process. This weekend, the sought after shots showed up at their door.

Ross said he worked tirelessly for a month to get the coronavirus vaccine for his 150 residents and staff. 8 On Your Side called the Department of Health on their behalf, and three days later, the vaccine showed up at their front door.

“I got a whole bunch of families so happy, thrilled their loved ones are getting it,” Walton Place Assisted Living Facility Executive Director John Ross said.

On Thursday, Ross told us about his frustrating experience trying to get the vaccine for the elderly and staff in his facility.

He said after a month of working with CVS to get vaccinations, they were told the Department of Health was taking over. State officials confirmed Thursday that CDR Health was being hired to speed up the effort

On Thursday, 8 On Your Side’s Christine McLarty called the Dept. of Health, and Friday asked questions on behalf of all ALF’s in Pinellas County wanting the vaccine.

“Do you know when ALF’s are expected to see [the vaccine in Pinellas County]?” McLarty asked FL Dept. of Health Director for Pinellas County, Dr. Ulyee Choe.

“I don’t have that answer at this time,” Dr. Choe said.

“I know the story [8 On Your Side] did helped us,” Ross said Monday. Ross said a CDR Health representative called him on Friday.

“[They told me that] is was based on an inquiry I had made, but I had made no such inquiry so I knew it was the story,” Ross said.

On Sunday morning, Ross said a dozen CDR Health technicians and RN’s showed up unannounced.

“The positive note is that we did get vaccinated, it was a very chaotic process, though,” Ross said.

He said albeit extremely disorganized, he’s thankful. He said all but three of their 87 residents got the vaccine and five of their 45 staff members received it.

“I do believe it was a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease here!” Ross said.

He added residents are going to be receiving their second dose on Feb. 7, and any residents or staff who didn’t receive the first dose already can get it then.

Meanwhile, the Division of Emergency Management said all ALF’s in Florida will be contacted by a covid vaccine provider by the end of the month.

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