Lee Health getting so many calls about vaccines, it's making it hard to contact patients

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 20:11:00-05

LEE COUNTY — Lee Health says its phone lines are tied up with too many people calling about vaccines.

The hospital system is only offering shots to its own patients, but thousands of people are still calling. We spoke with a doctor at Lee Health who said she’s having trouble getting her patients on the phone because so many calls are coming in from people looking for the COVID-19 vaccine.

We also talked with a woman who is still trying to get vaccinated herself about what the struggle has been like.

Marcy Mamane was one of the hundreds of people who waited outside Lakes Regional Library, trying to get a vaccine the first week they were available.

"I had to walk on my walker, and by the time I got up there, they yelled at us go home. We’re already at number 600 or something, and there’s going to be no more shots today," said Mamane.

But despite her disability, Mamane was determined to get a vaccine. So when the phone lines opened up on Monday, she called immediately.

"I called at least 20 times between 12 and 12:30, and what it is is it rang and it hung up. It rang and it hung up," said Mamane.

Mamane tried calling other counties, but they were full too. She was getting ready to call Lee Health, before we told her about the hospital system’s phone issues.

"We are having so much trouble with the phone lines that it’s actually causing us difficulty for getting lines going out in order to outreach to our patients," said Dr. Leah Lynch.

Dr. Lynch said you shouldn't call the hospital about the COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll call you.

"Because our primary care patients are ours, we have their record, and we know who the vulnerable patients are and so that’s who we’re outreaching to," said Dr. Lynch.

Lynch said people need to be patient, because more vaccines are coming. That’s something Mamane said, she’s accepted.

"I’m kind of exhausted from trying. So I’m just going to have to be patient," said Mamane.

Lee Health said it expects its next shipment of vaccines to come in sometime this weekend, or Monday at the latest.