Young cancer survivor fights through red tape to get vaccine in Tallahassee

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 11:18 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Most of us now realize limited supply and high demand mean plenty of frustrated people looking to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

One Tallahassee woman who beat cancer during the pandemic, but feared what catching COVID-19 would do to her compromised immune system, shared her story with WCTV on how she found a way to get her shot.

Lindsay Durrenberger was giddy to show off her vaccine sticker. She got the shot just hours before the culmination of a stressful few weeks.

At first, this mother, teacher and cancer survivor was patient, but decided rising cases after the holidays was a sign to reach out, first to her oncologist.

“He said absolutely cancer patients qualify,” Durrenberger explained.

Her oncologist pointed to the last line in the Governor’s Executive Order that those “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 can get vaccinated, but specialists don’t have vaccine doses.

So, she called up the Department of Health and received an unexpected answer: “We’re not taking any more appointments at this time.”

Then, she made call to her primary care provider, which proved to be another brick wall.

Durrenberger described, “They were like, no we’re not. We’re only vaccinating folks 65 and older.”

Desperate, she called health departments across the Big Bend and beyond, but found little help.

Finally, after multiple calls through her health insurer, she found a breakthrough.

“We’re calling you to let you know we have an opening for a COVID vaccine at 1 p.m., can you be there?’ I said yes, I will be there,” Durrenberger recalled.

The process took just a matter of minutes.

“But when I walked out to my car and I had my immunization card in my hand, I started to cry. It wasn’t until that moment I realized how anxious and just scared I’ve been,” Durrenberger added.

Her message to others facing a similar challenge is this: “It can feel defeating, it can feel frustrating, it can feel nobody is hearing you...keep talking, keep it up. Because you’re worth it.”

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