‘I’m scared I’ll never get them a vaccination’: A NCFL woman details her frustration with the current appointment process

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 9:07 AM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - People across North Central Florida continue to try their luck snagging a Publix vaccination appointment, as more open up several times a week.

For the sixth morning in three weeks, Villages resident Lisa Ballou refreshed the Publix vaccine registration page at 6 a.m. on the dot, in hopes of securing appointments for her parents.

“It’s extremely stressful. I have frail parents. I have an 83-year-old father and a 79-year-old mother,” said Ballou. “I just wait and wait and then all of a sudden the screen changes and it says there’s no more vaccines available, please come back and it gives another date.”

Wednesday was no different as the 147 available appointments in Marion County were booked within half an hour. This comes after nearly 2,000 available appointments were filled by the one hour mark last Friday.

RELATED STORY: Fighting COVID: Everything you need to know about where/how to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine in NCFL

“I feel like my chances keep going further and further down. Quite frankly I’m scared for them that I’ll never get them a vaccination,” Ballou said.

But she’s not giving up. Ballou said her parent’s names are on over 40 waitlists across the state as they’re willing to drive hours away to receive their first shot.

“It has been repeated to me over and over to be open to receiving the vaccine in counties that are a little bit of a drive for you, don’t just put your own county,” said Ballou. “That’s what I’m hearing from people who have had success.”

Ballou also tried booking appointments in Pasco County, which would be a two-hour drive, with no success.

You do not have to be a resident of the county you’re signing up in to receive a vaccine from Publix, you just need to provide proof of Florida residency. Appointments will open again on Friday at 7 a.m.

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