Frustration rising as another COVID vaccine site fills up in Monroe County

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LONG POND, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Another mass vaccination site announced Wednesday and yet another case of frustrated Pennsylvania residents being shut out.

This time it happened in Monroe County with 3,000 spots already spoken for. One senior says she’s just about at her breaking point.

Being internet savvy and having a smart phone aren’t technically required to get the vaccine. But that’s what it feels like for some people in group 1A, especially seniors who are struggling to make an appointment.

Every day Patricia Phipps calls an 800 number to try to make an appointment to get the COVID vaccine, but she hasn’t had any luck.

Phipps is 79 years old and in group 1A. ​Next to her landline, she keeps a list of numbers for the local health networks, Lehigh Valley, Geisinger and St. Luke’s.

“Which we call constantly — my daughter and I — and you get told they have no available appointments,” Phipps said.

Tuesday, Lehigh Valley Health Network announced their Monroe County COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, March 20. As soon as she found out, Phipps and her daughter went online and called hoping to claim a spot.

They were already filled. She’s frustrated.

“We’re calling day after day and going on the internet. No appointments,” Phipps said.

Lehigh Valley says the fastest and easiest way to schedule is through their patient portal. But Phipps says she’s not computer savvy and don’t get her started on smart phones.

“They say put it on the apps. I don’t have that,” Phipps said.

This is the first vaccine clinic she’s heard of in her area. She lives in Tobyhanna and says vaccines need to be more accesible in Monroe County.

“There needs to be more in this area. There’s a lot of retired people in this area, and there’s not enough coming,” Phipps said.

Not enough vaccines available and not enough guidance over the phone. She says she wants providers to know that many seniors in 1A don’t have internet access and they’re being left behind.

“Somebody should be there for people that don’t have internet and to help them,” Phipps said.

Phipps says she’ll keep calling. Lehigh Valley is expecting a shipment of more vaccines on Tuesday. Patricia told us she has been eager to get the vaccine since it came out. She even said she would have volunteered to be first.

Eyewitness News asked her to keep us updated so hopefully she can get an appointment soon.

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