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Seniors Express Frustration, Excitement, As They Get Vaccinated In Broward

COVID-19 vaccinations started on Jan. 3, 2021, at the Vista View Park in Davie for people 65 and older.
COVID-19 vaccinations started on Jan. 3, 2021, at the Vista View Park in Davie for people 65 and older.

COVID-19 vaccinations started in Broward County this past weekend for people who are 65 and older.

Noreen Stephens and her husband, Larry, drove to Davie’s Vista View Park from Hollywood on Jan. 3, and arrived at about 6 a.m. Stephens sat in the passenger seat of their vehicle and said through the window that they couldn’t be happier to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I am so grateful that the county did this for seniors," Stephens said. "We’ve been so scared for so many months, stuck in the house, so, thank goodness."

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They said they got an appointment online, and then it took a while to confirm by phone.

"You can’t give up, you have to keep trying and trying," she added. "It was a two-hour process to get the appointment."

The couple left a few hours after they got there. COVID-19 vaccinations started on Jan. 3 in Broward County for people who are 65 and older, while health care workers and people in long-term care facilities have been getting the vaccine since December.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccinating essential workers after healthcare workers but Gov. Ron DeSantis chose to include seniors next instead.

Florida’s Department of Health in Broward County opened up more appointments Sunday morning for this group, but by midday the website had crashed again.

Bill Langer from Cooper City also got inoculated in Davie Sunday. He said he’s not fully relieved yet.

"Now I want to see what’s going to happen with shot number two," Langer said. "How are they going to handle that? What’s going to be the procedure?"

He and his wife said they arrived two hours early because the process of signing up for the vaccinations had felt disorganized to them. There’s no central vaccination information hub online. Broward’s department of health has been communicating updates on Twitter — which many seniors don’t use.

By Monday morning, the department announced that they wouldn't be taking any more appointments for the time being.

"The information has been hard to find. It doesn’t come out through the general public, and had we not had a friend that had gotten the shot, we’d be like other people that are in the dark," said Langer, referring to a friend who was part of a vaccine trial, and who, he said, knew about the vaccinations in the county.

Langer is excited to spend time with his children and grandchildren, after his booster shot in a few weeks.

In Miami-Dade County, vaccination appointments for people 65 and older will open up through Jackson Health System early this week. The county plans to contact homebound seniors living in county facilities to bring vaccines to them. Palm Beach County has not yet begun its vaccinations.
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Verónica Zaragovia