COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Marty Ambrose says there’s no way her 92-year-old mom could camp out for a vaccine. That’s where she stepped in. She logged onto Collier County’s sites for the vaccine and raced to find an appointment until she finally booked one, two hours away.
Last Monday, she took her mom Dolores Ambrose to get a vaccine in Lee County at 5:00 a.m. But, when she saw the long lines and people camped out the following days, she thought there has to be another way.
“She can’t sit up all night. That’s just not a feasible option,” she said.
Before Monday, vaccinations distributed by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Lee County were walk-up only. When Ambrose found out Collier County had online registration and a waiting list in case of cancellations, she didn’t hesitate. Last Wednesday she got up at the crack of dawn, and logged onto her computer.
“Sat there for three hours until I got the news alerts,” said Ambrose.
She opened several tabs and as soon as the FDOH Collier County’s Eventbrite sites went live, she started clicking. Even that didn’t come without some bumps in the road.
“The appointments were just evaporating as I went on to try to register,” said Ambrose. “If I couldn’t do the registration fast enough, I got bumped out.”
Finally, she secured an appointment for Tuesday morning, in Immokalee, two hours away from her Bokeelia home. Her mom still had to wait in line for another two hours, but she says it was worth it if it means some sort of normalcy is on the way.
“She [still] has to wear her mask, but she can at least go out and go to the grocery store. She might be able to do an outdoor lunch with a friend,” said Ambrose.
She added none of that is happening until her mom gets her second dose of the vaccine. The health department in Collier County is distributing the Moderna vaccine which requires a second dose 28 days after the first one. They'll email people who need it one week before it's time.