People with comorbidities struggling to find COVID-19 vaccine

In June, Nicole Campbell thought maybe she had hit something at the gym.

But six weeks later, it came back she had invasive carcinoma.

It is mission to rid the body of cancer, chemotherapy compromises the immune system, which means cancer patients are particularly vulnerable if they become infected with COVID-19.

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That’s a tricky situation for Campbell, a mother of two.

“We had an incident where my youngest had came in, and he wasn’t feeling that great and he had a sore throat,” Campbell said, “and you can just tell it was a lot of panic.”

But young people like Campbell should be able to get vaccinated at a hospital, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order.

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But that has been nearly impossible, according to Dr. Maen Hussein, a Florida cancer specialist and oncologist.

“A younger person who is treated for cancer can be more vulnerable than even their parents or grandparents,” Hussein said. “I go to three different hospitals here and none of them was able to provide it to the vulnerable patients.”

This week, hospitals were completely cut out of the state’s distribution model as Publix pharmacies and county health departments got a larger share of the doses.

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So hospitals didn’t even have vaccines to give Hussein’s patients.

That meant more people were able to get the shot at multiple sites in Lake County where Campbell lives, but not her because she’s not 65 years old.

The state recently said hospitals are back in the picture.

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Hussein said oncology centers and their patients need to be a priority.

“Last week, I have three patients admitted with COVID. Now I have to delay the treatment,” he said.

The Florida Society of Oncology are appealing to the governor, point out their infusion centers make them uniquely able to administer the vaccine to some of Florida’s most vulnerable patients.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.