Some express frustration as demand for vaccine outpaces supply
Vaccinations against COVID-19 are wrapping up for those in Phase 1A in Muhlenberg County, which includes long-term care and assisted living facilities, and healthcare personnel. The county health department is starting to vaccinate those in Phase 1B, which includes first responders, and anyone who is age 70 and above.
Muhlenberg County Health Department announced Monday they have currently filled all open appointments for doses of vaccine they have on hand, and do not know when to expect more. As they receive doses, they will continue to schedule appointments from a list of people who are eligible for Phase 1B, and who have registered for a place in line.
To be included on the waiting list, you must be in the groups eligible for Phase 1A or 1B, and call 270-608-4811 to register.
Patience is important, as health department staff try and fulfill requests for appointments and grapple with a limited supply of vaccine.
“It’s fair to say that everyone needs to be patient,” said Cathy Bethel, director of the health department. She encourages people to leave a message with the department, and they will return calls and put people on the list. She asks that only people eligible in the current phases call.
Graham resident Carol Cummings said she has been calling twice each day, since last Tuesday to get her name added to the list. She will be 77 years old in April, and suffers from COPD, a chronic inflammatory lung disease.
“I call every day, and all I get is a recording saying the mailbox is full,” Cummings said. She worries that with each day she is unable to get through to the department, she falls farther behind on the list.
“I just wish they would put it on the message, if they are out of vaccine,” she said. Her doctor at Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Healthplex gave her information on how to get the vaccine, but it’s only available at the hospital’s Owensboro location. She said she is unable to travel to Owensboro to receive the vaccine.
Bethel, from the health department, said they have eight phone lines, and all of them are in continuous use as they receive hundreds of calls each day.
“The fact is, there is short supply,” Bethel said. “We don’t know which of us will have it, or even if we will get it, until the last minute.”
The health department does not have control over how much or when they will receive doses of the vaccine, Bethel said in an email. “Hopefully, once the production catches up with the supply needed, this will resolve.”
Phase 1C is slated to start in March, and include those 65 and older.