Letters to the Editor: Indian River County’s Failed COVID-19 System

Letters to the Editor in Sebastian, Florida.
Letters to the Editor in Sebastian, Florida.

On Monday, Sebastian Daily received emails and phone calls throughout the day from residents frustrated about the current reservation system for COVID-19 appointments.

We will soon publish an article after we’re done following up with federal, state, and county health officials. In the meantime, here are some of the emails we received from residents.

COVID Vaccine Reservation System Needs Help

On Monday morning, I had the frustrating pleasure of attempting to reserve a COVID vaccine using the County’s reservation program.

Since one cannot make a reservation without using the on-line program developed by the County, and since the “reservations desk” did not open until 9:30 am, I imagine hundreds of citizens attempted to log on at 09:30 + 10 seconds. Whatever the number, it was enough to “crash” the reservation program.

After several attempts to reach the calendar portion of the program, one selects an open day and time slot, then types in their contact information and date of birth – only to find yourself “kicked out” of the program because someone else was issued your selected date before you could enter your personal information. This happened to me no fewer than three times. 

On the 4th attempt, the program responded with a “all reservations have been filled.” All this in the time span of 3 and one-half minutes!

Frustrating does not begin to describe my feelings. I think it is proper to ask County Commissioners and the County agency in charge of this terrible reservation program, “What is wrong with accepting names of citizens wanting a Covid Vaccine on a waiting list?” Why must I compete with other citizens to enter into a race to see who can get their name on a limited reservations list?  

This is insane, not to mention a waste of time and leaving people greatly disgruntled. For the love of all that is good, the County should change the program to accept people on a waiting list, then contact them (easy enough using email) when vaccines are available, and an inoculation date can be scheduled without the rug being pulled from underneath.

Scott B.

Impossible To Get Vaccines

So the governor of Florida got us more vaccines – thank you. However, it is impossible to get it. 

I signed up early last week for the alerts. Later that day, I got the alert that they were going to do vaccine Friday, and I immediately went to the site, got the calendar, filled out the form, and got an immediate slot filled. So I tried again to no avail and was unable to get the calendar again. Everything was full.

Ok, so we get another alert that they have four days of shots this week, opening the lines at 9:30 am Monday morning. I was there ready to get in at 9:30am, got the calendar again, picked a time, filled out the form, and got an immediate not available. 

I immediately tried to get the calendar again and wasn’t able to get in. I tried and tried but could not get in. Then the site said nothing available, all taken.

Ok, I find it very hard to believe that we senior citizens are so lightning-fast that they could get in, fill out forms, and get results. I feel that I am fairly quick at this kind of stuff, and I couldn’t do it. 

And forget trying to call. The other day I waited for 20 minutes of “thank you for being patient.” In fact, the phone line was not even operating Monday morning.

Is there any way to find out how many doses they give out in one day? The only people who seem to be able to get the vaccine are first responders, which I absolutely have no problem but I haven’t met any senior who has been lucky enough to get one. 

Diane Green 

What Are We To Do?

As for Monday’s COVID-19 appointment, I had two iPads and a laptop ready for the 9:30am signup. I started logging in 1 minute before and kept all three ready. Appointments full.

I can’t see how a week’s appointment were filled in a short amount of time. 

The wife and I have a lot of health problems. The wife had one kidney removed in March of 2020 and is still not 100%. She also has diabetes. As for me, I’ve had two heart attacks now with fib diabetes and COPD. We only leave the house as needed because of this COVID-19. 

I’m 71, and my wife is 66. So what are we to do?

Gary Petzold

A Complete Mess

People are angry and panicked. Wouldn’t you know this would be a mess? 

Server down, phone busy, and four days of appointments gone in 7 minutes? How so?

Jennifer Mina

Nonresidents Getting Vaccines

Governor DeSantis,

I have been one of your super supporters when you were in Washington DC, and very much so since you have been Governor of Florida! I have bragged to everyone I know what a wonderful Governor you have been during this pandemic.

But now, I can not get a Covid vaccine in my home county of Indian River because people whose residency is outside of Florida are being allowed to jump in line with full-time residents! I’m very, very upset about this!!

My husband and I own a home in Georgia, and my family members there that are 65 and over are getting their vaccines because they only let those with a Georgia driver’s license to make an appointment!! I did register on the Georgia website, and the person called me to make an appointment, but when she found out my driver’s license is Florida, I was denied, and I believe this is actually the right thing to do!!! 

You have stated that the vaccine should be open in FL to anyone who wants the vaccine because it is from the Federal government and free. 

This makes entirely no sense!!! It is obviously not a requirement from the Federal government, or GA would have to comply to that too!! The ones who are here only 3-4 months of the year should go back to their HOME states for their vaccines. You should be protecting the voters that put you in office!

I have copied my local newspaper on this email! I also send a copy of this email to Senator Rick Scott, Senator Marco Rubio, and Congressman Bill Posey. Please, please reconsider this!!

From one of your VERY concerned constituents,

Teresa Browning

Indian River County COVID Vaccines Open to Anyone

I find the fact that the limited supply of vaccines per the direction of Governor Desantis and shipped to the IRC Health Department is not only for IRC residents and is free to be dispensed to NON-IRC residents.

I have a 95-year-old father, whom I care for, and is a live-in resident. He has been housebound since February 2020 due to his terrors of the thought of dying from this virus. 

The discovery that the “IRC leadership” has not done all that is humanly possible to ensure IRC residents are the focus of their business is alarming.

Please provide the rationale behind (NOT stipulating) the vaccines sent to IRC to be dispensed to NON-IRC residents.

When is the “IRC leadership” going to begin to lead for the benefit of IRC residents?   

Brad Leedham

A Total Joke

The vaccine at the Fairgrounds is a joke. Four of us seniors tried, and it was booked full in 30 minutes. 

The state health department is not organized. After advertisements through the entire TV reception area, the TV channels made it impossible for us over 75 to even call and get an appointment. 

The vaccine is open to friends and anyone else who can dial faster. 

Should give the vaccine to our providers or pharmacies for seniors that are unable to compete. 

James Carter

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