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Some seniors thought they were on county COVID-19 vaccine waiting list, but aren't

Nancy Drake shows confirmation email from Dec. 30
confirmation email from seniors on Florida Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine waiting list
Posted at 9:14 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 21:14:06-05

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.

Nancy and Fred Drake
Nancy Drake has been waiting and wondering when she'll be able to get her husband, Fred, an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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 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 so we can investigate and assist as needed."

The department then released an update:

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.

RELATED: Commissioner raises concern about plan to clear up vaccine waiting list

"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.

'They will not go to the end of the line' email from Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County

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?

  1. Did you email the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County before Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. and receive a confirmation response?
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Health officials will investigate and assist as needed.
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