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Vaccinate NEPA: Appointment frustration as mass vaccinations begins this week in Luzerne County

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HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A mass COVID-19 vaccination site is making its way to Luzerne County this week, aimed at getting the vaccine into the arms of older Pennsylvanians.

But it’s causing a lot of frustration with area residents who were hoping to get an appointment.
Frustrated, fed up, you name it, Pennsylvanians looking for a COVID vaccine are feeling it all. Eyewitness News spoke with just a few people who shared their frustrations with us Monday.

“I got on at 8:35 and they said ‘you’ll be in there longer than 21 minutes’. An hour and 35 minutes later then, I got told that there was nothing available, that these were booked weeks ago,” Sugarnotch resident Christine Dunne said.

“I’m 68 years old. I didn’t get the vaccine, I figured this was an opportunity to get the vaccine and here we find out that they were pre-registered,” Wilkes-Barre resident George Levandowski said.

Local residents are fed up with how the mass vaccination clinic in Luzerne County is being run before it even begins. A partnership set up by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Walmart and the federal government.

Hanover area Junior Senior High School will host the Walmart-run clinic over the next three days.
Some are so frustrated they came to the vaccination site looking for answers as they were setting up Monday.

“They told us that they were sold out of a thousand vaccines,” Levandowski said.

Nearly 1,200 Pennsylvanians will receive the Pfizer vaccine at the clinic this week, beginning Tuesday. Dunne says she falls into the 1-A phase because she suffers from asthma and had cancer.

“Who has those appointments? I’d like to know who got those appointments,” Dunne said.

Eyewitness News found a couple from Carbon County who was able to get appointments. They drove up to Hanover Township Monday to check out where they need to go for their appointments Thursday.

“This is the closest one they had so we took it,” Lehighton resident Candice Siddlow said.

Even though the couple is lucky enough to get the vaccine this week, they are still frustrated with the system.

“Every place you call, they tell you to call back next week. You think you’d make a phone call and they put you on a list. It’s like hit or miss, if you’re lucky enough to get a spot where there’s an opening great. If not call back next week. It’s very frustrating,” Michael Siddlow said.

Eyewitness News got an answer to those questions tonight from Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging. They said those who were able to get appointments were pre-booked through the pace program. You can also call your area agencies on aging for help.

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