POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – “Hello Polk County. Is there anyone out there listening?” Bartow woman Carol Ruenger asks.
Ruenger and her husband, who are in their 70’s, are both recovering from COVID-19. They have also lost loved ones to the virus.
The Ruenger’s live in a large, 55+ complex, full of people who, like them, want some news on when they can get the vaccine.
“I’m on the Internet trying to find where we can go to start getting the vaccines. We see Pinellas and Hillsborough and all these places are giving out the vaccines and there’s nothing for Polk County,” Ruenger said.
In Polk County, hospital staff, nursing home staff and residents, and first responders are getting vaccinated.
Meanwhile, most counties in Tampa Bay have already started giving the shots to senior citizens in the community, or have announced plans to do so next week.
“I think that the seniors in Polk County are being sold short because other counties have it. Why doesn’t Polk County have it?” asked Nancy Richards, who lives in Lakeland and wants to be able to reunite with her boyfriend after spending the pandemic apart.
The Florida Department of Health in Polk County tells 8 On Your Side it has received a “limited supply” of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
“We are currently developing a plan for distribution that meets the requirements of the governor’s executive order as quickly as possible,” said Nicole Riley a health department spokeswoman.
The Health Dept. in Polk County will be releasing updates on the vaccine on its website.
“While we don’t have a plan in Polk, I’m not worried about it because Polk steps up always,” said John Myrick, a Lakeland senior citizen.
The rollout has been relatively slow nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12.4 million shots have been sent to states and 2.7 million have been administered to citizens.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week that 146,000 Floridians have received the vaccine. Florida is home to more than 21 million people.
“Something’s gotta be done because it is getting to the point where we want to get back to whatever normal is gonna be for us,” said Ruenger.
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