ALSO: Out Of State Residents, Visiting South Florida, Receiving Vaccine From Health Dept. Before Residents
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Donors to various foundations within Baptist Health are being given direct access to the COVID-19 vaccine in front of the general public. Baptist oversees Boca Raton Regional Hospital as well as Bethesda East and Bethesda West in Boynton Beach.
BocaNewsNow.com received several tips over the past several days that donors are being telephoned directly by Baptist Health representatives, asking if they’d like to schedule personal access to the COVID vaccine. The donors are able to circumvent what continues to be the non-functional Florida Department of Health vaccine scheduling call center in Palm Beach County — where senior citizens are spending hours a day calling, hoping to get through like it’s a radio station call-in contest from 1985. But the “hot hits” tee shirt has been replaced by life-saving medication.
Barbara James, Executive Director of the Bethesda Hospital Foundation, referred questions posed by BocaNewsNow.com to Baptist spokesperson Michael Maucker. Maucker confirmed that top donors are among those receiving vaccine priority.
According to Maucker, “established Baptist Health supporters who are patients age 65 or older or who have extreme vulnerabilities for COVID-19 as delineated by the Governor’s executive order,” are among those being vaccinated.
While not answering how many donors have received the vaccine, he did provide context in a lengthy statement:
“As of today, we have vaccinated approximately 8,200 frontline healthcare workers,” wrote Maucker. “Our first priority is to continue the administration of vaccinations, including the mandatory second dose, to our frontline workers to provide for their safety and strive to have the workforce we need to care for our patients. Simultaneously, based on vaccine availability, we are also making plans to offer the vaccine to eligible, high-risk members of the Baptist Health community, patients who meet criteria and also to the community at large in the coming days. In line with the Governor’s executive order to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible, as quickly as possible, we are beginning to reach out to groups who are known to us to provide the vaccine. These groups include community physicians who may not have access to the vaccine, staff who support medical practices and meet criteria to receive the vaccine, employees who are 65 years old or above, or who have other extreme vulnerabilities, patients who are at high-risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19, such as patients with cancer at Miami Cancer Institute and Lynn Cancer Institute.”
Senior citizens are still struggling to schedule vaccine appointments with the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, where seemingly incompetent local officials have been unable to manage a call center that is apparently overwhelmed. Officials neglected to create an online scheduling system.
BocaNewsNow.com has also learned that local public health officials are not confirming whether those receiving appointments are Florida residents or just visitors. We have received multiple reports of out-of-staters being given appointments in front of full-time Florida residents. Local health department officials continue to dodge media questions.
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