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Confirmation text mix-up frustrates vaccine hopefuls in Westchester

Dora Villani, 71, says she was turned away Saturday morning when she arrived at the Westchester County Health Department in White Plains. She says she arrived 15 minutes early to locked doors, lights turned off, and a line of 25 people who were also confused.

News 12 Staff

Feb 21, 2021, 2:27 AM

Updated 1,215 days ago

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Some residents hopeful to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday received an accidental text confirmation for their appointments – but they soon found out their appointments were actually canceled.
Dora Villani, 71, says she was turned away Saturday morning when she arrived at the Westchester County Health Department in White Plains.
"When I got this appointment, I was in shock," she said. "I was so looking forward to it."
Villani's 10 a.m. appointment was confirmed through email and text to get her second dose of the vaccine. She says she arrived 15 minutes early to locked doors, lights turned off, and a line of 25 people who were also confused.
When they came back later, a sign was taped behind the door -- "No vaccines due to shipping delays."
"If someone's on the inside and they're changing these signs, why isn't anybody coming and letting us know what's going on?" said Joanna Villani, Dora's daughter. "I think that this conduct is just really unacceptable and completely unprofessional."
"Now we just drove an hour and 20 minutes and can't even get it," Courtney Dfazio said. She and her 67-year-old mother with COPD showed up to the closed site.
In a statement, Westchester County officials said their shipment of vaccines was delayed due to the storm, and people with appointments Saturday got accidental confirmation texts instead of cancellation messages.
"Unfortunately, due to the winter storms this past week, the County’s shipment of vaccine was delayed. Due to this delay in vaccine shipment, the Westchester County Health Department had to postpone the appointments of those who were scheduled to receive their second dose today.
The Westchester County Health Department notified these people of this change yesterday. Unfortunately, the state’s automated system sent out vaccine appointment confirmations in error. Once we became aware of this error we immediately notified the state to stop the automatic confirmations.
Once the County receives the vaccine shipment, everyone that was due to receive a second dose today will have his or her appointment rescheduled in a timely manner."
Doris and Joanna say they waited two hours before the statement was released.


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