Immunocompromised woman hoping for 'vaccine exception'

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 23:00:15-05

CAPE CORAL, FLA — Every 28 days, Heidi Basik says her immune system takes a big hit.

"I have been taking chemotherapy for 10 months now as an immunosuppressant for another chronic disease that I have," she said.

It's a treatment that would leave her vulnerable at any time, but now more than ever.

"I don't have the capacity to fight on my own. My immunity is reduced. If I were to get the virus, I would have no natural ability to fight that. And it would be a very dangerous thing for me," she said.

She says as vaccines are being made available to Florida's senior population and healthcare workers, she's noticed a gap when it comes to folks like her.

"I wonder if there is a small but very real population of us that are 'Florida's most vulnerable population,' who are not actually over 65?"

She says she's already asked her doctors for a medical exception, to try and get the vaccine now.

"I have my entire medical team looking for a solution for me. They're as dumbfounded as I am," she said.

But so far, no luck.

She's since turned to her keyboard and has written to Governor Ron DeSantis himself for help.

"I'm not trying to be the entitled person who says 'I deserve this. I need to have this.' there are other people who are as at-risk as I am or more, I recognize that. But I also recognize that there are probably a significant amount of over 65-year-olds who are otherwise healthy," he said.

She's also reached out to Congressman Byron Donalds for help and so did we. He sent back the following statement:

“Just yesterday, Governor DeSantis announced the State of Florida would be receiving an increase of over 300,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is essential that we bring an end to this deadly virus; however, I understand the Governor’s reasoning for his vaccine guidelines due to the scarcity of doses available. We must prioritize those that are most vulnerable, including swiftly and safely distributing the vaccine to Florida’s seniors who are over the age of sixty-five. Once the Governor feels as though we can move forward and shift the guidelines, I will fully support him. Protecting those who are immunocompromised is critical, and I encourage all of those who are patiently waiting for a vaccine to contact their State Representative and the Governor’s Office for more information.”

FOX 4: Where does that [statement] leave you?

Basik: "In the same place that I am."

She says she will keep writing to the governor and her local leaders and has even asked her Facebook friends to do the same.

Basik also adds that says she's hoping to start a conversation -- one that just might lead to greater peace of mind and safety for a small but important part of our population.

"It would be a 'yes' for a very real piece of our population who feels like we're slipping through the gaps," she said.

FOX 4 has also called and emailed the governor's office for comment and hasn't heard back.