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Palm Beach County seniors going to other counties to get vaccinated

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Posted at 2:20 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 00:01:34-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Frustrated senior citizens are crossing into other counties to get COVID-19 vaccines.

With the Palm Beach County health department's appointment hotline down, seniors can only send emails with their information to make an appointment.

Many residents said they have made hundreds of phone calls to several local counties hoping to land an appointment.

A Valencia Shores resident told WPTV she finally got a call back from the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, and she’s relieved she won’t have to drive to Broward County to get vaccinated.

Carol DeLaster and her friends have spent the better part of the last week on the phone.

"I think yesterday my husband clocked 400 calls to Wellington and we didn’t get through," DeLaster said.

Together with her network of friends and neighbors, the 76-year-old has contacted a total of 15 sites administering vaccines to seniors. She said many had to drive to other counties to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"They went to Sebastian, they went to Vero. My friend went to Davie yesterday," DeLaster said.

Linda Brown, who also lives in Valencia Shores in Lake Worth, drove to Broward County on Tuesday to get her shot.

"I was calling everybody I knew just to say, yipee!" Brown said. "It was the most exciting thing that happened to me in a year."

Brown said she was frustrated when she couldn’t get through to the Palm Beach County health department's appointment hotline when it first opened up.

"You would call, I measured the number of phone calls that I had tried them. In one day and it was 550 times and could not get through," Brown said.

Online she signed up to get vaccinated in Broward County, the first step she said to getting back some freedom

"I have young grandchildren and I've only seen them twice over the course of this last year," Brown said.

Right now, the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County is only accepting emails to set up appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine.

DeLaster got a call back and said next week she and her husband are scheduled to finally get the vaccine.

"Oh, can’t wait," DeLaster said. "We haven’t been out of the house in 10 months so we’re really excited."