PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Three seniors in Palm Beach County thought they were on the county's waiting list for the COVID-19 vaccine after signing up and receiving a confirmation email, but they are not on the list, Contact 5 has learned.
Palm Beach Gardens resident Nancy Drake reached out to Contact 5 after emailing the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County in late December to register her 75-year-old husband, Fred, for the vaccine waiting list.
Drake showed Contact 5 her confirmation email, dated Dec. 30. But when Contact 5 spoke to the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, which took over the waiting list in mid-January, a spokesman said Fred Drake was not on the list.
Nancy Drake said getting her husband vaccinated is top of mind, given his underlying health conditions.
"He has cancer, he has high blood pressure, so I'm very concerned, respiratory-wise," she told Contact 5 in an interview.
Contact 5 learned two others who received confirmation emails from the county health department are not on the waiting list. It's unclear if other seniors are also impacted. Contact 5 is working to learn more.
After asking the county health department why those seniors were not on the waiting list, the health department sent this response:
"Those who sent an email to email@example.com before 4pm on 1/19/21 requesting a vaccine appointment, and have not been contacted by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, should forward their original chd50feedback email or DOH-Palm Beach confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can investigate and assist as needed."
The department then released an update:
Update for those who originally emailed chd50feedback but still have not heard from the Health Care District - Covid-19 Vaccine Update - (2-17-21). https://t.co/LSPR6zqRXZ— HealthyFLPBC (@HealthyFLPBC) February 17, 2021
Drake worries it will take longer for her husband to get inoculated against COVID-19.
"We're going back to the bottom again, and he's already been on there since Dec. 30," Drake said.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Greg Weiss said registrations should still be honored in the order they were received.
"It makes sense to put them back to where they were prior, you know, to when they signed up," Weiss told Contact 5 in an interview.
In a follow-up email, a spokesman for the county health department wrote that individuals "will not go to the end of the line" if they belong on the waiting list.
For weeks, Drake worked the web, wearing out the refresh button and trying to get appointments for her husband outside of the county waiting list. Now, she's worried about the delay.
"My biggest fear is that he's going to get the virus somehow in between (when) we get him to an appointment time," Drake said.
How do I know if I'm on the county's COVID-19 vaccine wait list?
- Did you email the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County before Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. and receive a confirmation response?
- If you received a confirmation email, but haven't heard from the Health Care District of Palm Beach County since that agency took over the wait list, check your spam or deleted email folders for an email from the Health Care District.
- If you got a confirmation email from the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County but never heard from the Health Care District, forward your confirmation email from the health department to email@example.com. Health officials will investigate and assist as needed.