Homebound Altamonte woman struggles to get COVID vaccine despite qualifying for county program

UPDATE: Seminole County paramedics begin vaccinating homebound seniors

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — An Altamonte Springs woman tells Channel 9 she felt forgotten by her local health department as she desperately tried to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

72-year-old Barbara Crawford is one of thousands of seniors who are homebound with no way to get to a vaccination site.

READ: AdventHealth to administer thousands of second doses of Moderna vaccine this week

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After suffering some bad falls, she says the furthest she walks anymore is to the mailbox at her apartment complex.

HOW TO BOOK A VACCINE APPOINTMENT THROUGH SEMINOLE COUNTY: Seminole County is still reviewing the State’s COVID-19...

Posted by Seminole County FL on Saturday, January 30, 2021

Crawford says she’s tried to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and even had appointments at the Oviedo Mall site, but she had to cancel each time.

“The county called with an opening, but it was in Oviedo, and I live in Altamonte Springs,” Crawford recalls. “There is nowhere around Altamonte Springs and I have no transportation. I live alone.”

Seminole County and the Health Department have a program for residents over the age of 65 who are homebound.

So far, over 400 homebound residents have been vaccinated, but as the county’s Emergency Manager Alan Harris explains, there are requirements.

“We have to determine, is she able to get there with a caregiver? Is she absolutely homebound?”

Harris says each request is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If other accommodations can be made, those will be discussed with the person making the request.

When asked about Crawford’s case, the county added her to their list, saying she qualified. Initially, the Health Department had said she didn’t qualify, but after 9 Investigates pushed for answers, a spokesperson for the Health Department in Seminole County explained they reassessed her case and Crawford would soon receive her first dose of the vaccine.

We were there Wednesday when paramedics with the Seminole County Fire Department arrived at Crawford’s apartment complex in Altamonte Springs, She was just one of dozens of homebound senior citizens they visited to administer doses of the vaccine.

“I’m so thankful to the Seminole County Fire Department, the Department of Public Health, and Channel 9,” Crawford said after receiving the first dose. “It’s hard when you can’t get out and do things for yourself.”

A separate assessment will be done to determine whether Crawford will be able to go to the mall for her second dose.

“I’m so glad I get the shot...Nothing would have happened without you guys and I appreciate it so much.”

County officials stress homebound residents should call their hotline number at (407) 665-0000.