MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Trying to get the COVID vaccine in South Florida is at times chaotic and frustrating.
The distribution site at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale has become a flashpoint for the pitfalls of the vaccine rollout.
The city offered the park to the state, first as a COVID testing area and then recently
as a place to distribute the covid vaccine.
But it hasn’t gone smoothly.
Initially, the park was supposed to be used as a backup for some people who had an appointment but ran into long lines at other vaccine distribution sites.
Then, it was to be listed as an option for an appointment on the state-run Broward county vaccine registration page. But that hasn’t happened.
So the city began opening up Holiday Park to everyone for vaccines and it has led to mass confusion.
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On Thursday, CBS 4 talked to people driving out of the park who had just been vaccinated.
Everyone had a different story.
Anna and Bob Shula said that they had an appointment at Holiday Park after they couldn’t get vaccinated at their first assigned appointment site.
But another man said he had an appointment and they wouldn’t honor it.
Many people were turned away and circled the park waiting for an opening.
“When we first got here it was closed so we waited in a shopping center half an hour
and then got back online,” said Anita and Paul Mills
Stan Davis, a snowbird from Indiana struck out Wednesday so he came back Thursday and waited in his car across the street from the entry looking for an opening.
“I have a fear of getting sick. I’m diabetic and it’s very serious.”
Gladys Guttierez who circled for sometime parked her car and tried to talk her way into the site Thursday.
She left empty-handed.
Watch CBS4′ Joan Murray’s report:
“I’m disappointed because I’m 79 years old. My family has had it so I need the shot,” she said.
If she had just waited a few more minutes she would have seen officers open up the Park again for vaccine seekers.
City Manager Chris Laggerbloom says when the registration site didn’t get fixed they decided to open up the site to everyone 65 and older who wanted a vaccine.
“There’s a balance between do we hold the vaccine or give it out. We are now giving 1000 shots a day,” he says.
Lagerbloom says people are working on the website and it may or may not be up and running by next.
“Maybe we will have appointments by next Tuesday,” he says.
In the meantime, it remains the wild west at Holiday Park.
Michigan snowbird Peter LaFond got lucky on Thursday. He had no appointment and got in line for the vaccine in the afternoon.
“This is not an inconvenience. The people working here should get the medal of honor,” he said.
On Thursday, Jared Moskowitz, Florida Director of Emergency Management, said a statewide appointment system for COVID-19 is underway.
The online portal could be ready within weeks.
Vaccine shipments are also on the way.
Frank Rollason, Director of Emergency Management in Miami-Dade County said next week Marlins Park and the Hard Rock site will receive 7,000 doses, while Jackson will be getting 8,000.
“That’s the way the state is operating. In other words, you run out of vaccine and that’s the objective to get as many people vaccinated as you can.”
Over at Zoo Miami, tents are already in place.
“And by opening up the site at the zoo, we will give out a thousand a day,” said Rollason.
Zoo Miami will be opening from Friday thru Sunday to administer vaccines to people 65 and older, by appointment only.
They mentioned they will not be able to schedule appointments past Sunday because they have not received enough vaccines.