Fort Lauderdale's Holiday Park COVID-19 vaccination site is switching to appointment-only, after it had initially been set up for walk-ins and first-come, first-serve.
"Holiday Park will be serving people 65 years or older with a scheduled appointment, verified email confirmation, or text message confirmation. All others coming to Holiday Park for vaccination will not be served," the Florida Department of Health in Broward County said in a statement Friday.
The confusion over who would be getting vaccinated led to traffic backups at the site Friday, with a long line of cars stretching out of the park. The long lines continued on Saturday.
“I have been trying for over a week. I have gone out to 10 different sites - Miami, Palm Beach, Broward, Jackson Memorial, Baptist Hospital," said Susan Campagnano, who was in line before sunrise. "They all say all the appointments are gone.”
Holiday Park is a state-run vaccination site, with the City of Fort Lauderdale assisting with the traffic flow. When traffic increased Friday, the site was temporarily shut down and reopened as it moved along.
“You are talking about people in their 70s, in their 80s, their 90s they’re not computer savvy," Campagnano said. "They’re not even phone savvy and they’re being told to jump from site to site from site to site. These people don’t know how to do it. It’s a disgrace, it’s a crime.”
It was the luck of the draw for some people who showed up, who said they circled around the park and were able to successfully get the shot without an appointment.
“We were here at 7 o’clock this morning and we got turned away but we persevered and we got on another line and they let us in so I was very happy," said Barbara Demilt.
Others said they were at the site since 4 a.m. and turned away.
“Confusion, we can’t…they won’t let us in. Since when are they giving out appointments, there’s no way they can be giving them out as they said no appointment necessary on the website," said Nancy Aaraj.
"We came back and the guard let us in. We were the first ones to come in and this woman says, 'you need an appointment.' They didn’t say that on the Internet last night," said Rose Marie Osorio.