BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Two words are popping up quite a bit for people eligible to get the COVID vaccine but haven’t been able to get the shot.
Those words are vaccination frustration and despite a third vaccine now approved, the search isn’t getting any easier for so many.
The staff at Area Agency of Aging – Luzerne and Wyoming Counties hears from hundreds of people who are dealing with vaccination frustration. Eyewitness News heard first-hand Wednesday from a vaccine-eligible couple who reached out through our campaign Vaccinate NEPA but keeps running into roadblocks.
With his dog Isabel by his side and his longtime partner Gail Oehling to share his life, things seem good for Bud Abrams. But looks can be deceiving.
“I thought it would be much easier than it is,” Abrams said.
Abrams and Oehling have devoted virtually every day for the past month to find somewhere to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m almost starting to feel like I have to accept that I’m just not going to get it,” Oehling said.
Oehling is 64 and battling cancer that’s spread through her body. Abrams is just days shy of his 70th birthday and diabetic. They’re both eligible for the vaccine but despite numerous phone calls, emails and word of mouth, “there doesn’t seem to be anything out there. It seems it’s kind of like a dead end every time I try,” Abrams said.
“I mean it’s been so long that we’ve been trying with nothing, not even like a call back. I can’t believe not even a responding email. Nothing,” Oehling said.
That type of frustration is familiar for the staff at Area Agency on Aging – Luzerne and Wyoming Counties.
“We actually kind of pre-screened everybody. We got all their information, developed a list and that list is over 800,” Area Agency on Aging- Luzerne & Wyoming Counties Executive Director Mary Roselle said.
Roselle says, to date, most of the COVID vaccine appointments made for the agency’s senior clients have been made by the clients themselves.
“Some people just keep calling and calling and calling and what they’re telling us is that they just lucked out. You know, were able to get through to somebody and get scheduled,” Roselle said.
But light may be at the end of the tunnel. Roselle’s office is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to set up a community vaccine clinic.
“We’re hoping that it can happen soon. You know, we’re all working together to try to do everything we can to make sure that we’re ready in the event that it does happen,” Roselle said.
So do Oehling and Abrams and so many others dealing with vaccination frustration.
“I’ll wait as long as I have to wait,” Oehling said.
“Now, I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not but I have high hopes,” Abrams said.
In the meantime, seniors can contact their local area agency on aging which will transfer information to the Pennsylvania Department on Aging and Magellan Health to help connect seniors with those shots.
President Biden announced there should be enough COVID vaccine to get all U.S. adults who want the shot to get it by the end of May.