Collier County community feels overlooked during vaccine rollout

Published: March 3, 2021 5:24 PM EST
Updated: March 3, 2021 6:32 PM EST

Collier County says its localized approach to vaccinating people is working, but some people living there feel they are left behind.

We spoke to community members of Imperial Wilderness Condo in Collier County Wednesday, who say they hope they can have vaccines brought to them.

Imperial Wilderness’ Wednesday lunch giveaway is one of the few times resident Molly Franklin sees her friends.

“Pretty much a homebody, which is not in my character, but that’s what I am,” Franklin said. “I miss my friends a lot.”

Franklin will keep missing them until she gets the coronavirus vaccine. She’s frustrated because she knows people living in other Collier County neighborhoods have received their shots.

“I think they are ought to look to the rest of us who are just as needy,” Franklin said.

The county is using municipalities, community outreach groups, homeowner’s associations and fire departments to get the vaccine into arms.

“What they’re doing now, it isn’t working,” Franklin said.

“It’s been rough and frustrating — very, very frustrating,” Suzanne Korpela said.

“We can’t get through,” Sue Church said.

“We are not getting results,” John Franklin said.

The president of the Imperial Wilderness Condo Association told us he sent a letter in January to the Florida Department of Health in Collier County. In it, he asks if they could set up a vaccination clinic in their clubhouse.

DOH-Collier said it never got it. Spokesperson Kristine Hollingsworth said the county’s localized approach to vaccination is getting vaccines to those who might not otherwise get a shot.

“We have also provided vaccines to senior affordable living complexes and mobile home parks,” Hollingsworth said.

“Meanwhile, we sit and wait, and it’s frustrating,” Molly Franklin said.

Franklin hopes DOH-Collier decides her neighborhood is next.

Hollingsworth says she’d be happy to help Imperial Wilderness start the process of using the clubhouse as a vaccine site.