Conflicting rules leave some in North Naples community without COVID-19 vaccine

Published: December 30, 2020 6:36 PM EST
Updated: December 31, 2020 3:54 PM EST

Our most vulnerable communities continue to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but some at a living facility in North Naples got left out and aren’t sure when they’ll be vaccinated.

The problem starts with two companies: Walgreens and CVS. They’ve been distributing the vaccine to health care workers and long-term care facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says essential workers are supposed to come next, but Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the vaccine go to people 65 and older – and it looks like Walgreens and CVS aren’t on the same page.

“I have not seen my grandchildren, my family, the ones that even live in this area, for almost a year. And it’s just getting to a point, we want the shot, we wanna be able to see our family,” said Yvonne Tuttle.

She says she and her husband have waited long enough. They’ve barely left their home since February, and they were hopeful when the vaccine came out that they would be one of the first to get it.

Then, they got a letter from their independent living community, Vi at Bentley Village.

“Bentley Village was assigned to CVS and they are sticking to the CDC guidelines,” Tuttle read from the letter. “To many of the residents that have been asking, I do not have the date for independent living residents to receive the vaccine.”

The note says residents at other communities nearby got the vaccine, where Walgreens did the shots. The problem? CVS follows the CDC’s recommendations while Walgreens follows the governor’s order.

“We believe that the better approach is to focus on the elderly, first and foremost, then we’ll get into essential workers,” DeSantis said in a press conference Wednesday.

People in the skilled nursing facility at Vi at Bentley Village got the vaccine on Saturday, but those in independent and assisted living will have to wait – or get in line.

Tuttle and her husband say that’s just not possible.

“I’m 73, soon to be 74. I have a heart condition, diabetes, idiopathic lung disease, and Wegener’s granulomatosis, which leaves me with very little energy in the first place. And there’s no way possible I could go stand in line.”

Now they’re left wondering, “When are we going to be next? And we don’t have any answers to that.”

WINK News reached out to CVS, and a representative said they’re continuing to work with the state, and right now, they’re in long-term care facilities.

Vi at Bentley Village didn’t get back to us with any comment, but their letter to residents asked them to be patient.