Frustration mounts for Troy senior trying to schedule vaccine appointment for weeks

Seniors frustrated with vaccine registration process

TROY — For 77-year-old Kathleen Falensky trying to get signed up for a vaccine has been frustrating.

“Kettering, Premier Health, going to my charts, CVS, Kroger, Walmart…It’s always the same, no appointments available,” Falensky told News Center 7′s Katy Andersen. “I have spent probably 3.5 to 4 hours a day for the last couple of weeks, just trying to get a first shot.”

Falensky said she has heart issues and said the difficulty of getting registered has taken its toll.

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“Very frustrating, very exasperating, I am just totally upset over the whole thing,” she said. “I am enough tech-savvy to maneuver around the websites...I am just appalled they don’t have a better grip on it.”

Gov. Mike DeWine has said he wishes the state had more vaccine supply to get to Ohioans, so more people could get shots. The slow distribution of the two available vaccines prompted the Governor to put a hold on expanding the age groups eligible for shots for at least several weeks.

Currently all senior citizens in the state are eligible to get the vaccine. Teachers and those with certain developmental disabilities also can get the shots.

“They need to get more vaccines, whether it’s Pfizer or Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, they need to get more vaccines,” Falensky said.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have already sent hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses to Ohio since mid-December. Johnson & Johnson has applied for emergency use authorization from the FDA for its one shot vaccine. The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Feb. 26, which could lead to it being ultimately being approved.

Falensky said she thinks getting registered to get a shot isn’t just about the limited amount of vaccines, but also the way people are being signed up.

“I don’t think they have enough people to take care of the calls, I mean two hours on hold is ridiculous, and that’s just one example,” she said. “That’s the longest I have been on hold.”

The Executive Director of the Area on Agency said the response for the vaccine from Dayton area seniors has been high and his agency has also been feeling the frustration.

“The systems can’t handle the sheer demand,” said Doug McGarry, Executive Director of the Area on Agency. “We are receiving a number of calls. It’s the same calls many are experiencing. There is that frustration that people really want to be protected and are looking at options...and they aren’t having success getting an appointment.”

McGarry said his biggest advice is to be patient and don’t hestitate to reach out to family members, friends and neighbors to help you through the registration process.

“We need to be patient and allow that supply to grow and eventually everyone who wants to get a vaccine will get a vaccine,” he said.

In Ohio, 1,161,056 people have started their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of the state’s population.