More doses of COVID vaccine arrive to Suncoast, many frustrated with appointment system

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 8:51 PM EST
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MANATEE, Fla. (WWSB) -Amid all the frustration, social media calls, e-mails to ABC7 and outrage from seniors across the Suncoast, we can report that officials are hearing you and say they’re doing what they can to help.

“Until the supply chains are well established, we’re at the very beginning of this. It’s fortunate that Manatee County has been able to get so many out so quickly,” said the Manatee County Public Safety Director, Jacob Saur. “But it’s going to be an on and off process until that supply chain is really full. I know that the demands, especially 65 and older to get vaccinated is very high. We understand that. And we’re working as fast as we can but the supply is just not here yet.”

Monday afternoon Sarasota County announced they had 800 shots available for their vaccine clinic at their building on Ringling Boulevard.

Manatee County received a total of 1,400 doses of the vaccine, 200 of which are set aside for frontline healthcare workers. The other 1,200?

Manatee County leaders say they have reached out to the State Department of Health and Emergency Management asking for more doses of the vaccine as soon as they can.

Manatee County has an all hands on deck operation. With the same 311 phone bank they announced in 2020 to keep people informed on things happening across the community, they’re helping people who can’t get onto computers or smartphones to make their own COVID-19 appointments.

Saur says they’re working with other departments as well, like libraries to help seniors make their appointments as the county continues to receive more doses of the vaccine. He says they’ve heard stories of neighbors and people helping seniors across Manatee County who may not know how to access the system themselves to make an appointment.

“When someone gets into the system we allow them to make appointments for up to 10 people. So that’s really assisted a lot of those that cant get into the computer. They’ve been able to find within their community those who look after them to make those appointments and we also have the 311 operators,” said Saur.

He says as soon as they get more doses into the county they will make them available to people.

“My promise and the teams promise is we’re not sitting on any vaccination dosages. As soon as we get those in we’re scheduling another drive-thru to get those out as quickly as we can. We just ask that the public really continues to have patience.”

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