MIAMI (CBSMiami) — With a new administration in place in Washington, D.C., South Florida seniors hope the process of getting a COVID-19 vaccine will improve.

Currently, counties must rely on the state for their supply of the vaccine. But the state says they don’t know from week-to-week how much they will get or when.

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That has led to chaos for those 65 and older trying to get a vaccine appointment either through a county website or hospital.

Barbara Rubin says she tried to make an appointment online and called for weeks with no success. She is 68 years old and has multiple sclerosis.  Finally, she says she contacted one of her doctors and got an appointment within 24 hours.

“I guess he knew somebody who knew somebody,” said Rubin.


Getting an appointment is often like trying to get a seat on a packed plane.

Broward and Miami-Dade have given a total of 230,000 vaccinations.  That’s about 5% of the population.

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Daniella Sladen feels fortunate that she was able to get her 84-year-old grandmother the vaccine on Thursday at a Broward Health site.

However, she said, “Everything is full up now.  My dad can’t get an appointment and my other grandmother can’t get an appointment.”

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To try and solve the vaccine signup snafus, the State Department of Health in Broward is now telling seniors and frontline healthcare workers to use the state system.

The number to call is 1-866-201-6313.

It’s automated and after answering a series of questions, a recording says you will get a call back to set up an appointment. It’s unknown when that call back will happen.

To get a jump on appointments, a number of seniors in Miami-Dade are using social media to monitor when things open up.

Jackson Health System uses Twitter to notify seniors when appointments can be scheduled. This was the tweet sent on Jan. 20. Slots quickly filled.

After 242 Publix pharmacies across 18 Florida counties started offering vaccines, the demand was astronomical.

A quarter million people trying for 24-thousand shots, all snapped up in two hours Wednesday. Publix is getting another 45,000 doses.

It is expected to administer as many as 125 shots per day. Signup is Friday beginning at 6 a.m. at

Meanwhile, Baptist Health South Florida suspended all first-dose vaccinations because of limited supplies. Any appointments booked for Wednesday or later were canceled. Second-dose appointments were not affected.

Thursday, Mount Sinai Medical Center also announced first dose appointments for Saturday, January 23rd and onward have been canceled and no new appointments will be offered. Second-dose appointments were not affected.

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Also Thursday, Florida’s top health officer advised counties across the state to prioritize available doses to residents, including so-called snowbirds who reside in the state part-time, in an effort to curb so-called ‘vaccine tourism.’