Seniors without computers face challenges signing up for COVID-19 vaccines

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Seniors who don’t have computers or internet access are finding it difficult to get vaccinations in Pinellas County. A number of them have reached out to 8 On Your Side.

For weeks, Judai Burton has been trying to get a vaccine for her 91-year old mother.

“It’s got me really frustrated, enough to call the governor’s office,” said Burton. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County contracted out the scheduling process to a company out of Miami. 8 On Your Side reached out to that company to ask advice for seniors without access to the internet. We have not received a callback.

Gloria Wilhite is facing the same frustration. She is a 69-year old retired nurse, and having worked in healthcare, she can’t understand why it’s so much easier for seniors with access to computers to get vaccinations.

“The shots need to be available to treat anyone who wants one,” said Wilhite. “And not make it so hard! “

The last time she called for an appointment, all of the appointments were already spoken for in a matter of minutes.

“I said you’ve already made all the appointments? How is that possible in two minutes?” Wilhite asked the operator. “She said, well, ma’am, most people have computers and you can just go on the computer and do it very easily. Well, that’s fine and dandy folks if you have a computer and you know how to use it.”

Burton believes the process needs to be overhauled.

“It’s very disproportionate,” said Burton. “I understand it’s a pandemic and I understand the people are trying to move as quickly as possible, but you need to step a little more thoughtfully, mindful.”

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