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Frustration for those 65 plus trying to get vaccinated

"I'm actually nowhere"
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Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 18:24:40-05

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) — “They're actually like shunning us and turning us aside,” declared Christin Kasprzak, Cheektowaga resident.

Senior citizens across the region are trying to book an appointment to receive their first round of the COVID-19 vaccine, but are running into roadblocks.

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Christin Kasprzak, Cheektowaga resident, is site manager at the Cheektowaga Senior Center.

Kasprzak is one of the many Western New Yorkers who is 65-plus and eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

But she said she has tried a number of times to book an appointment by calling a New York State number to book an appointment, 1-833-NYS-4-VAX.

Kasprzak says at one point, the call disconnected eight times and when she did finally get to speak to someone, there were no appointments left at the University at Buffalo.

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On NYS website for vaccine appointments, UB is consistently showing "no appointments".

“And every thing is — there's no appointments available. Everything’s gone,” Kasprzak stated. “It’s frustrating to get through to find anybody to help you.”

Kazprzak works as the site manager at the Cheektowaga Senior Center. Like many older adults, she doesn't have computer or smart-phone access and relies on the telephone number.

“I’m actually nowhere,” described Kasprzak.

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Kerry Peek, director of senior services, Cheektowaga Senior Center.

“If they don't have access to the on-line program — they can't get on the internet, they can't go to the website — they can't get a shot,” remarked Kerry Peek, director of senior services, Cheektowaga Senior Center.

Peek said the “magic question” is how to help. She said she is trying to figure out how to assist thousands of seniors who rely on the center for services.

“And I’ve heard stories — I’m 90 years old, Kerry — I have all these health conditions, what can i do,” Peek explains.

The senior center is closed right now due to COVID restrictions, but will reopen February 16.

Peek said town leaders are trying to convince the state to bring vaccines directly into the center.

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Cheektowaga Senior Center features a large gathering area the director says would be ideal for vaccination clinic.

The center has a very large room Peek said would be ideal to hold a vaccine clinic.

“Coming here to the center would be comfortable place,” Peek noted.

Peek says they've also reached out to pharmacies, but they have large waiting lists as they await for more doses to arrive.

“Now from what I understand those lists are so long that nobody else can be added to the lists,” Peek said.

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COVID restrictions continue inside Cheektowaga Senior Center.

Kasprzak said she has health issues and wants to make sure she will be protected from COVID. She said she is even more concerned now with the new, highly contagious strains of COIVD that are being reported.

For now, Kasprzak says she's not sure if she will be able to get an appointment until June.

“So I’m just hopeful that one of these day — I’ll get lucky — I’ll just be lucky and get an appointment,” Kasprzak replied.

Peek said she’s telling everyone it should change once more vaccine is made available, but admits that could take time.

“It’s very hard to be patient because everybody is scared,” Peek responded.