COVID-19 vaccine wait list sees thousands of patients

COVID-19 vaccine wait list sees thousands of patients

NEWBURGH, Ind. (WFIE) - If you are over the age of 60, but are not yet eligible to sign up to get a coronavirus vaccine, there is another option for you at Deaconess Health System - a COVID-19 vaccination waitlist.

Using this list is how Deaconess Health System has managed not to waste a single vaccine dose, according to officials.

On Friday, however, there is controversy on social media, in regards to who is being called in to get the doses.

A 62-year-old resident of Vanderburgh County, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she and her husband signed up for the wait list in hopes of being able to see their family.

“I’m just afraid,” she says. “I don’t want to get COVID.”

Like so many others in the Tri-State, she is anxious to get her COVID-19 vaccine as soon as she can after losing friends to the virus.

This waitlist at Deaconess Health System is for anyone 60-to-69 years of age and is used to administer any leftover doses at the end of the day from opened vaccine vials.

For example, if a few people miss their appointments in the afternoon and there are extra doses at the end of the night, those doses cannot go back into storage. Officials will then use this on-call list to contact residents nearby to come get the vaccine immediately.

“Part of the important way that we don’t waste any doses,” says Vaccine Clinic Director Andrew Schenk, “is that we have an on-call list that we can call interested patients. We do want them to answer the phone and try to be there within 30 minutes, just so we make sure we don’t waste any vaccines.”

So far, officials say a few thousand people are on the list, with an average of 5-to-10 patients called in at the end of vaccination days.

On Friday, with people patiently waiting to get that all-important phone call, residents in the Tri-State area discouraged after seeing a Deaconess employee posting on Facebook, asking her friends who was available to get the remaining vaccines.

“This is just so unbelievable,” says the 62-year-old waiting on the list, “that there is a nurse that would basically call friends and say, ‘hey come on down,’ and not go through specific protocol.”

Officials with Deaconess say this employee broke company protocol, and the situation has been handled internally.

The director of the vaccine clinic is apologizing to patients.

“My message to them is that I’m sorry that that was out there,” says Schenk, “and that it’s definitely been addressed and not going to occur again.”

As a reminder, you have to be on the waitlist if you are interested in getting one of those extra doses.

Officials say you will receive a phone call from a Deaconess team member when you are next on the list.

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