BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - "I am a first-line worker. I come in contact with people and patients every day. It is definitely really frustrating not being able to get it," said Sarah Jones, a frontline healthcare worker in Brevard county.
Jones works on the frontlines with patients in Brevard county, but she still can’t get the vaccine.
"I have grandparents, my husband has grandparents. We are scared to come into contact with them, so it is frustrating," Jones said.
Some healthcare employees, like Jones, have a difficult time getting the vaccine because they are outside a government or hospital system. This includes dentists, chiropractors, physicians, and their staff.
"Many physicians don’t go to hospitals, they work in outpatients or urgent care centers and so on. Many of those types of physicians, outpatients, ambulatory, surgical facilities, diagnostic centers, imaging centers, have had difficulty getting access to the vaccine. It’s like getting a ticket to the Super Bowl or a ticket to a concert in demand," said Craig Deligdish, the Omni Healthcare president and chief executive officer.
Deligdish said his organization is getting over 2,000 phone calls and emails every day, desperate to get the vaccine.
"The frontline healthcare workers obviously are exposed to a large number of people every day and many of those are sick people, and many of those people carry coronavirus. Clearly, they are essential workers," Deligdish said.
Doctors say, for now, the best thing frontline workers can do is try to make an appointment through Publix to get the vaccine.
Dr. David Williams, the chief medical officer for Medfast Urgent Care Centers, said he was having zero luck securing vaccines for his staff of frontline workers. That’s not all. He said more than 20% of Medfast's frontline healthcare workers had gotten the virus, including himself, and he was actually considering closing some of his locations.
"The state knows who the hospitals are, they know who the nursing homes are, but I think with the Florida healthcare agency, they should look at urgent cares and other primary care offices, especially urgent cares. We have 13 urgent cares. We have seen over 215,00 patients last year, 170,000 COVID tests. We would like to take priority with the vaccinations, especially when our employees were getting sick," Williams said.
Williams says they reached out to the state representative office to ask for more vaccines and finally received a shipment of 300 vaccine doses.
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