LAKELAND, Fla. – Doug Veal, 46, of Lakeland was able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine a day after the Florida Department of Health released the eligibility form for “extremely vulnerable” patients.
The Lakeland man said he used a letter he received from his physician to obtain a vaccine from CVS. He said some touch-and-go health scares are why he was unwilling to give up hope on getting the vaccine.
“I spent 43 days in the hospital and 11 days on the ventilator when I had COVID,” Veal said.
The 46-year-old said he is in the latest priority group for people deemed extremely vulnerable by a doctor. The prioritization requires “medically vulnerable” patients to provide a state-issued form found on the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) homepage.
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said the form established by FDOH as a requirement to get the vaccine comes with flexibility.
“The unofficial policy is they’re just supposed to give you the shot. No one should be turned away,” Smith said.
Veal said he was able to get the vaccine without the state-issued form.
“That was something I was worried about all the way up until the time I was able to get in line to get the shot,” Veal said.
Confusion has been circulating around the requirement to get the vaccine.
“The form has only just been made available at the 11th hour,” Smith said.
As people with comorbidities try to get a vaccine, Rep. Smith said most of the information is available through the FDOH.
“The state is asking folks to fill out a specific form that was published by the Florida Department of Health. It’s a basic form; it just asks for your doctor’s information, their signature and their sign-off that your underlying medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable to COVID-19,” he said.
After a blur of disappointments and deadends, Veal said he is relieved the wait is over after getting his first shot.
“Just knowing that my body is making the antibodies that I need to protect me [from the] virus,” Veal said.