PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Tuesday was the first day for people 65 and older to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Pinellas County. Just one day after registration opened to the public, Pinellas County Health Officials say there’s not more spots available.
At the Mid-County Health Center, over 100 people waited in line to find out how they can get a vaccine, and with a limited number of vaccines available, county health officials say their message is for everyone to have patience.
“Frustrating, I guess,” said Pinellas County resident, George Williamson. “Maybe inconvenient,” said Pinellas County resident, David Watkins. This is how many people over the age of 65 in Pinellas County are feeling. “Well, you stayed on the phone yesterday for eight hours, on the computer for eight hours, and you’ve got nothing, so we just decided to come down here, but when we got here there are lines,” said Williamson.
Lines wrapped around vaccination sites across the county on Tuesday. The lines didn’t consist of people with vaccine appointments, rather with people trying to get one.
Pinellas County Spokesperson, Tom Lovino, says there was so much demand, the registration website crashed and phone lines were down on Monday, adding, “We certainly want to apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused. The second thing we want people to do is for people to maintain their patience. This is the first step towards getting many, many people vaccinated.” He says the state gave Pinellas County three thousand vaccines, and Tuesday, health officials spent the day filling the last appointments available. “We’re hoping to rapidly increase the number of vaccines that are available, with the ultimate goal to go to their doctor’s office, or go to a clinic,” said Lovino.
But for both Pinellas County residents, David Watkins and George Williamson, they can’t get the vaccine fast enough- “It was October since I saw my grandkids,” said Watkins. Williamson added, “My wife, my grandkids, myself, my kids, my great grandkids, my friends, everybody. We have to get things under control.”
For those who did receive the vaccine on Tuesday, they are feeling thankful. “I’m excited, but I’m also thinking of other people in need,” said Pinellas County resident, Chris Carlsen. Another Pinellas County resident, John Beard added, “I jump up and down with excitement.”
Pinellas County health officials say as soon as more vaccines become available ability to make appointments will follow.
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