LEE COUNTY — Many healthcare workers in our community are still waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine.
They were supposed to be first in line, but a break down in the supply chain has left them trying to get a vaccine appointment, just like everybody else.
The vaccine distribution is being handled by two agencies: The Florida Department of Health and the Lee Health hospital system.
The FDOH is handling the public distributions, and Lee Health is getting vaccines to healthcare workers, but the hospital system tells us, the supply has run out.
Lee Health said it has vaccinated more than 1,100 healthcare workers outside of its hospitals, but the home healthcare nurse we spoke with wasn’t one of them.
"At first we were alerted that we would be provided, and then somehow or another, like a thread it just unraveled, and then now it’s just like do the best you can," said the nurse.
The home health nurse did not want to be identified. She said she deals with COVID-19 patients on a daily basis in their houses.
"I don’t know the definition of front line could be any closer than their home. So we certainly were expecting to be part of that front line distribution," said the nurse.
Lee Health said, the only vaccines it has left it’s saving so doctors and nurses can get a second dose. The nurse we spoke with said she was told by her company to try to get a vaccine appointment at Publix, but she thinks, instead of giving vaccines to anyone over 65, the FDOH should be setting aside more doses for healthcare workers.
“The Department of Health can do better. They know how many doctors and nurses have licenses and therapists. They can track that," said the nurse.
For now, she says she’ll continue to try to get a vaccine appointment and protect herself as best she can, but she hopes something is done soon.
“We walk into COVID and we want to be able to do our job, that’s all. Safely," said the nurse.
Lee Health said it has no idea when it will receive more doses of the vaccine. So for now, home healthcare workers have no option but to try to get an appointment at one of the public distributions.