PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Marvin and Janice Dearing are frustrated and upset. They spent all day online and on the phone trying to get registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, but to no avail.
The couple, both in their 70s, live in a mobile home in Pinellas Park and can’t understand why the department of health didn’t have a better plan for the rollout of the vaccine.
“There has to be somebody at the Florida Department of Health,” said Marvin Dearing. “That’s their one job to distribute this vaccine. And they didn’t do it.”
Marvin tells 8 On Your Side, that when he didn’t get anywhere with Pinellas County, he tried other neighboring counties with similar results.
“Nothing worked,” Marvin said. “I was [trying] Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, all these counties around here. I thought that Pinellas County because of the density of the population would be overwhelmed, so I tried the neighboring counties.”
On Monday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health Pinellas issued a statement explaining the situation.
“We are aware of the issues occurring with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County’s COVID-19 vaccine registration system and our phone network. We understood that there would be an enthusiastic response, and we are working to promptly resolve the issues. We are in the early phases of the vaccination program, and there will be more opportunities for vaccinations in the coming weeks and months. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Hours later, the department provided an update on registration.
“At this time, we are suspending registrations by both phone and online. Updates will be coming.”
Marvin can’t help but wonder, who is getting the vaccines if he can’t even get a registration? “They have vaccines. The vaccines are being given out.” said Marvin. “If the average Joe like us that needs them, can’t get them, then who is getting them?”
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