It's a waiting game as states can't meet vaccine demand: 'I'm told I'm number 19,769 in line'

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Thousands of residents in the tri-state area are waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, but state and city officials are saying that there are not enough doses available for everyone who is eligible right now.

Just as the site to register for the vaccine in Atlantic County, New Jersey went live, Christopher Carroll learned it would be a while before his 68-year-old diabetic mother, Andrea, would get an appointment.

"I'm told I'm number 19,769 in line," said Carroll. "Forty-five minutes into waiting, I get a notification saying sorry all of the appointments are taken."

Carroll and his mother were one of 45,000 people to log onto the site when booking opened. It's a snapshot of the surging demand for a limited vaccine.



AtlantiCare, which schedules appointments for the Atlantic County Regional COVID Vaccination Megasite, said in a statement, "The first shipment of vaccines for the megasite was enough for us to provide 975 doses at the Convention Center. The supply we received this week of slightly more than 3,000 doses has enabled us to schedule 480 appointments a day from today through February 2."

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With limited online access, Delores Wharton in Wilmington, Delaware says residents in her senior apartment building have been scrambling to get info on where to sign up.

"We never knew about the registration, we never knew about the number," said Wharton.

Long lines have been the story at vaccination sites around the region.

The Biden Administration says it will be months before everyone gets a vaccine, but has promised to increase supply.

While there is hope in sight, Carroll will keep trying.

"We look every day. I'm on the phone, morning, noon and night," said Carroll. "Really it's a shame because it's now a dog-eat-dog world for vaccines and it really shouldn't be."

Read the full statement released by AtlantiCare on vaccine distribution:

"AtlantiCare is pleased so many members of the community want to be vaccinated. We are supporting the state and Atlantic County with distribution of the vaccine at the Atlantic County COVID-19 Vaccination Megasite at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

We understand the frustration that the members of our community - and those throughout New Jersey and the nation - are experiencing in scheduling an appointment to get the vaccine. We want to vaccinate everyone in our community who is eligible, but we need more vaccine supply. We do not control the amount of vaccination we receive.

The first shipment of vaccines for the megasite was enough for us to provide 975 doses at the Convention Center. The supply we received this week of slightly more than 3,000 doses has enabled us to schedule 480 appointments a day from today through February 2.

Approximately 45,000 individuals visited the scheduling site for the Megasite when appointment booking opened January 26. Like healthcare organizations and Megasites across the state, we are working to optimize the scheduling process so that we are efficiently booking appointments for the doses we have, while communicating the reality of the supply issue. We open appointment scheduling only after we receive doses to ensure that we will have enough for the appointments individuals book. We appreciate the community's patience and understanding as we work with our healthcare colleagues and leaders throughout the state to secure more vaccinations so we can end this pandemic. We share your frustration and assure you, we are doing everything we can to get vaccinations to our community."


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