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Some seniors struggling to get COVID-19 vaccine in Martin County

Hobe Sound resident Regina Dengel, who turns 100 on Feb. 9, has not been able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.jpg
Posted at 3:29 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 18:01:16-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — While the number of seniors getting their COVID-19 vaccinations in Florida continues to climb, a majority of residents 65 and older are still trying to get a shot.

Wednesday will be a big day for Regina Dengel. The Hobe Sound resident turns 100.

"We can’t even go out and have a party," Dengel said.

What she’d love most as a present is a vaccination.

"I don’t go out to eat or anything. It's frustrating," Dengel said.

Dengel's daughter has spent the past several weeks like many others, glued to a computer or constantly on the phone trying to make an appointment.

"This past year as been pretty lonely for her," said Charlene Laing-Fraser.

"I see a lot of people done, and a lot of younger ones, you know," Dengel said.

"Be patient but try everywhere you can to get an appointment," said Carol Ann Vitani, the administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.

Vitani said this week, the county began offering some second doses at the Department of Health office in Stuart.

"We have about 41% of our 65 and older population in Martin County that have been vaccinated," Vitani said.

The health department said it's getting a steady supply of the vaccine. That’s a far cry from a few weeks ago, when the county was almost entirely overlooked.

"We don’t know how much we’re going to receive until the Friday before that next week," Vitani said.

Jack Gavitt wasted no time getting his shots.

He lost his brother to COVID on Christmas Eve.

"He went in the hospital and in 10 days he was gone," Gavitt said.

For residents who can’t make it out to these type of events, the health department will be dispatching small strike teams this week to underserved communities.

"We’re going to set up some larger vaccination pods with some of our church partners," Vitani said.

Dengel’s family said that while some seniors are getting that second dose, they’re still trying to get the first.

"And it’s so unfair at this age to not be able to enjoy the simple things," Laing-Fraser said.