NewsLocal NewsCoronavirus


Vulnerable Florida residents under 65 struggle to get COVID-19 vaccine despite eligibility

'It doesn't make sense,' woman with lung disease says
Andrea Waxler
Posted at 2:16 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 17:49:53-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — There are growing frustrations for people under 65 years old that are looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is allowing those deemed extremely vulnerable to get the shot, but options remain limited.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | Medically vulnerable struggle to access vaccine

Andrea Wexler said she is lost on what to do next to find a vaccine appointment. She is under 65 but has a lung disease that falls under the vaccine requirement.

Wexler said she thought she would be able to get vaccinated at Walmart or Publix but has run into a roadblock.

Publix said they cannot vaccinate people under 65. Walmart accidentally opened appointments to those with health conditions but said the governor's order only allows them to vaccinate persons 65 and older.

"What if I was 65 with my exact same illness?" Wexler asked. "So now 65 and older with all those illnesses, they can go to Publix without having medical safety nets."

Jupiter Medical Center
If a Florida resident is under 65 years old, they must show they have one of nine illnesses to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Wexler said her frustrations have grown after trying to get her vaccine at Jupiter Medical Center where she is a patient. The hospital is only vaccinating people that have nine specific illnesses. Since none of the nine illnesses is lung disease, Wexler does not qualify.

"It doesn't make sense," she said.

MORE: Publix website books 16,000+ COVID-19 vaccine appointments Monday

Cleveland Clinic is another option for those under 65, but their website says you must be a patient and join their "My Chart" system.

"I don't know what else to do, I really honestly can say I have done everything that can be done," she said.

Wexler said she knows she is not alone, which has left her feeling it could take months before she can get her vaccine.

"What happens in Florida, it is a joke," Wexler said.