Polk County seniors wait for vaccine updates

Lucy and Ernie Geist are not kids anymore. She is 78, and he is 81, which means they are in one of the most vulnerable groups for severe illness due to COVID-19.

They want to be vaccinated against the virus as soon as possible and have been waiting for a sign that their turn could be next, but they haven’t gotten one.

"We’re waiting for someone to say something, to tell us 'next week' or 'next week that they’re going to be doing your [mobile home] park, or area,'" Lucy told FOX 13. "And we hear nothing."

A lot of people, especially senior citizens, are in the same uncomfortable situation. Officials say the problem is supply and demand. There is not enough vaccine to go around.

"We have not had nearly enough vaccine for the tens of thousands of people who want it right now," said Dr. Joy Jackson, the director of the Polk County health department. "I just ask the public to please be patient."

Since Polk County got its first shipment of vaccines last week, Jackson says more than 4,100 have received their first dose.

The department has been targeting specific mobile home parks and senior living communities.

The first public vaccination event was already full, minutes after being posted on the county's website.

"We put that on our website this morning," Jackson said. "Two hours after putting it up, the event is already full."

The department said it is planning two more vaccination events for the week of January 10-16, including a drive-through vaccination clinic, but details were not released as of Monday, January 4.

"Entities are doing our best to get vaccine out as quickly as possible," said Jackson.

But health departments can’t distribute the vaccine any quicker than the state provides it. Polk County officials said they have been promised a weekly vaccine delivery, but it is unclear how big the drop will be.

Lucy’s husband, Ernie blames federal and state authorities for dropping the ball.

"There was no planning in the beginning, and no planning now," he commented.