GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Nationally, patients are experiencing long wait times when heading out to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and that includes the site at the Harrison County Health Department.
Residents 75 and older can now apply to receive the vaccine but on Monday, some of South Mississippi’s most at-risk residents waited long hours for doses despite having an appointment.
Patients remained behind their wheels for hours as the line for the drive-through site extended into a nearby neighborhood.
“It’s hard to tell. We have so many people lined up in traffic,” said Sgt. Marco Lopez when asked about the long wait times.
Organizers said the delay could be due to people cutting in line or others not making an appointment ahead of time.
“There’s a lot of things I rather do,” patient Paul Burpo said. “I wish they had a plan B.”
The unexpected waits led to disappointment among the crowd.
“It’s quite frustrating,” patient Bob Sabo said. “I wish the state of Mississippi had it together a little bit more. I think we could have been doing things in preparation of getting (the vaccine).”
However, some people stayed patient with their focus solely on the drive-through site.
“Well, everybody’s got to take a turn,” patient Faye Collins said.
Despite the frustrations over the long wait times, some people said that they are relieved and excited to get the much-needed vaccine.
“Oh, I am so ready,” Burpo said. “I’d like to see my kids. They’re scattered to the four corners of the continent.”
That same excitement also spread to the National Guard who were overseeing the site.
“I feel pretty good that my soldiers are doing everything that they can to provide those services here for the community,” Lopez said.
After months of living through the health crisis and hours waiting behind the wheel, patients finally get to breathe a sigh of relief.
“I’m going to feel wonderful. I have not had any skepticism about getting the vaccine. I wanted to be one of the first,” Cindy Sabo said.