Cuyahoga County residents frustrated after only available vaccine appointments are hours away

Cuyahoga County residents frustrated after only available vaccine appointments are hours away

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Since the vaccine rollout, Ohio has inoculated more than one million people, but some seniors are still struggling to get an appointment, and some of those appointments are more than 100 miles away.

“I’m glad I’m retired because it was almost like a full-time job trying to locate a vaccine site,” Patty Phillips said.

65-year-old retired pharmacist and Cuyahoga County resident Patty Phillips says she was beyond excited when she learned her age group was eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“When COVID came out, and the CDC specified which age groups were at higher risk, I fell into that age group, but then I also have type one diabetes, so I felt like I had this target on my back since March of last year, so that’s why I’m so anxious to get this vaccine,” explained Phillips.

So as soon as she could, she started registering, on the county’s board of health website, on hospital sites, drugstore sites, and even grocery store sites.

“Like every day, several times a day, you have to go in and check those sites to see if you can get an appointment,” Phillips said. “Sometimes you’re in a waiting queue till your turn to get into the site, and once you get into the site, sometimes it will let you click on a date but then at that time it tells you there’s no appointments that day.”

Finally, Phillips got a vaccine appointment for Friday, but it’s a bit further than she anticipated.

“It’s road trip time, so yeah, I’ll be going to Sandusky tomorrow,” said Phillips. “I’ve got several friends like me who have been trying to get appointments. One of my friends finally got an appointment with a drugstore, but she has to go to Findlay, Ohio to get it, and another friend and these are all Cuyahoga county folks he has to go to Bluffton to get it, and I just talked to another friend today who is trying to get an appointment for her husband, and she said the best that she could find was Butler County so she would’ve had to of gone all the way down to near Cincinnati.”

Phillips says she’s grateful she has the means to travel for her vaccination, but she worries about others who can’t.

“It bothers me because I’m a retired healthcare professional, and preventative medicine to me has always been at the forefront, and I just wish there was an easier way for everybody to get notified, everybody to know when it was available and for them to be able to get an appointment,” she said.

So, 19 News brought Philips’ concerns straight to Governor Mike DeWine.

“I have no idea how that happened, that’s not supposed to happen,” Governor DeWine said. “The reason we’ve got 750 now and going up more than that now places where people can go is, we want people to be able to go fairly close to their home and when we can go to senior housing, we’re gonna take it to them so that should not have happened I don’t know why that happened.”

Governor DeWine says they use a formula to allocate the amount of vaccine to each county, and its largely based on population, so he really cannot explain how this happened.

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