Indian River County Needs More COVID-19 Vaccines, Better Appointment Scheduling

COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 Vaccine

Managing to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine in Indian River County is just about as difficult as hitting the lottery. The great news is if you manage to get an appointment, the process is very smooth.

“Just got the COVID-19 vaccine … Easy experience, very efficient, and all the people working there were wonderful,” Ann Lucier told Sebastian Daily.

Ann and Steve Lucier shared one of their secrets on how they managed to get the appointment last Monday. After dialing the number over 100 times and pressing #2 at the prompt, only to hear a fast busy signal, they finally just pressed option #1 and got right on through.

Once they got through, the appointment process was easy. Steve was first, then Ann completed the same steps by dialing from her phone and pressing option #1, and also scheduled her appointment.

It appears that the phone system is flawed, and the county’s online website is unable to handle such a load of people trying to book at the same time.

When one person finally reaches the calendar to book their appointment, they have to do it quickly, or someone who types faster may get it. So, by the time you fill it all out, it adds to the frustration when the appointment vanishes.

Who’s To Blame?

Most Sebastian citizens are blaming the county. 

“This ‘open system’ of getting vaccinations at the Fairgrounds in Vero Beach is totally opposite of the way the Federal Government wants to see these vaccinations distributed. The goal is to vaccine elderly citizens who have health issues that compromise their ability to survive the virus, and they should get it. It’s like playing a game of ‘Russian Roulette’ for my chance to survive this pandemic,” Sebastian resident Barbara Boardman told Sebastian Daily.

“We should have started first with age 75 or older. That should have followed with over 65, and so on. Doing it this way minimizes the crunch on the county’s computer scheduling systems, and those most vulnerable are guaranteed to be served first. That is a win, win scenario,” David Nuske told Sebastian Daily.

Out of Town Visitors

Others blame the snowbirds for taking all the vaccines from local citizens. 

“No one who has an out of state driver’s license (not the State of Florida) should be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine here in Florida! If your driver’s license does not reflect a Florida address, you need to return to your chosen home state to receive one of these precious vaccination doses. I am not even eligible for my vaccine, but my 70-year-old husband has been trying to get an appointment, like so many others, each time the vaccine has been offered,” Christine Schaner told Sebastian Daily.

We know there are many out of town visitors signing up for appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. I don’t think we should blame our snowbirds as they are here for several months, and this is a federal program for all Americans.

More Vaccines Needed

The main problem is the vaccine is in short supply. Indian River County needs more doses if they plan to vaccinate everyone. Perhaps Florida should receive more shots, as we also have the snowbirds to compete with for these vaccines.

Sebastian residents Barbara Boardman and David Nuske have a great point in stating that the vaccine should be given to the most vulnerable first, then everyone else.

There are elderly citizens in Sebastian who have not left their homes since the pandemic started. They are too afraid to go out. Treating people 75+ and those with poor immune systems should be first. 

Processing is Getting Better

It may not feel like things are getting better for residents who have not been able to get vaccinated, but things are getting better. Even if you haven’t received your vaccine, others are, and that can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Please be patient as healthcare workers are working hard to accommodate. We just need a better appointment system and more doses.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.