What we know about vaccines in Indian River County

Indian River County Health Department
Indian River County Health Department

(Editorial) – There’s been a lot of talk about the “failed appointment system” in Indian River County when scheduling the COVID-19 vaccines. There’s also been some misinformation about the vaccines, which only frustrates the public.

There’s no secret to what’s been happening, and there’s no conspiracy on why Indian River County can’t accommodate every person age 65 or older. They don’t have enough vaccines.

Publix is rolling out about 125 appointments per day in other counties. That may help our area as people get vaccinated in their counties, freeing up more appointments for Indian River County residents.

After asking questions from people who got vaccinated and making a few calls to the health department, I can honestly say that the county is doing its best. Yes, they have a problem with their appointment system becoming overloaded. We are navigating uncharted waters.

Lack of Vaccines

The process of getting vaccinated once you have a scheduled appointment is flawless. It’s so perfect that people from other counties are rushing to Indian River County. But we can’t blame them; it will help build immunity with the fight against this virus. It’s still a good thing that others are getting vaccinated.

Health officials in Indian River County are just as frustrated with their appointment system and the lack of vaccines being distributed for the county. 

“We received about 1000 vaccines for our clinics this week. We are currently working on clinics for next week. As the vaccine is a federal asset, the state determines who will be vaccinated,” Florida Department of Health spokesperson Stacy Brock told Sebastian Daily.

This week, the county only received 1,000 vaccines, but the county’s appointment system handled and scheduled all appointments in only a few minutes. That’s pretty efficient, but we need more vaccines.

When people get through, it’s a smooth process. There are too many people trying to schedule at once, and the system wasn’t designed to handle it. 

So far, about 8,200 people have received their first vaccine in Indian River County, and approximately 500 people have already received their second dose. 

Appointment System

Could the county handle the appointments differently? Probably, but they have their reasons for coming up with this solution. 

About two weeks ago, I sat and watched one couple re-dial over 100 times to get through. They became angry, said some language that I’m unable to print in this article, but they finally got their appointment.

Some might say the health department had nine months to get this right. Well, that’s not true. No one knew the full impact of the pandemic. We do know that fewer people are dying from the virus, and it usually takes years to get a vaccine. 

When the federal government announced the vaccine, it sent the health department in every county scrambling, as they realized that only a limited number of vaccines were available.

Fight Against COVID-19

These vaccinations are helping the fight against COVID-19, and soon we will be able to return to our everyday lives. Every person who gets vaccinated is assisting with the battle that will end this pandemic. 

As I said before, these are uncharted waters, and both the federal and state governments are on a learning curve. We just need more doses of the vaccine.

Let’s hold on a bit longer; don’t get frustrated. The virus is unfortunate, but there are better days ahead. 

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies. In 2002, he permanently moved back to Sebastian, where Andy's family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.