Some people inadvertently jumping line to get COVID vaccine

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Chasity Phelps is not 70, not a teacher or a first responder, nor does she qualify under any other state guidelines to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Yet she and several others like her have already gotten at least their first vaccine at the Kroger site in Greenwood Mall.

Getting vaccinated is a priority for millions statewide. While many who qualify have had difficulty making an appointment, others who do not qualify have inadvertently jumped over the people with the most need.

When trying to register online for the mass vaccination site in the former Sears store inside the mall, the website allows people to make appointments with no questions asked, sometimes asks the qualifying questions and often shows a message that reads “no appointments available,” but Jeremy Crain, the Kroger Health and Wellness leader, said appointments are available.

“The screening process that we use does screen patients for eligibility and asks questions specifically about their qualifying status and so based on the responses they provide, they are screened at the time that they schedule their appointment,” said Crain.

That screening is based on the honesty of the person answering the questions.

Phelps said she wasn’t asked any screening questions and was able to simply make an appointment.

She mistakenly thought the vaccinations had opened to her phase and unknowingly got the shot early.

“I do feel like that’s on them because I just thought that we were already in that phase and so they said on their website that they are prioritizing A and B or those 70 and older, so, in my mind, I thought that they were going to either put me on a waiting list or cancel my appointment if I didn’t fall within one of those groups,” said Phelps.

When asked about the issue, Crain said he was unaware anyone had gotten the vaccination early.

“I’m not aware of any appointments, but glad to research any specifics if you would like to share that information. I do know that our scheduling system continues to clarify and to point out the current eligibility phases and so, having tested the scheduling system myself yesterday, looking at what questions were asked based on date and current eligibility in multiple states, it was my experience that eligibility was verified in order to schedule an appointment,” said Crain.

Crain said there is a questionnaire online that will tell people seeking vaccination if they qualify.

But depending on how you get to the vaccination page on Kroger’s website and which kind of device you use, you don’t always get the questionnaire and can sign up anyway, like Phelps and several others have done here in Bowling Green.

Other people here knowingly signed up early and have now successfully gotten their first vaccination.

They all asked to remain anonymous.

To date, Kroger has administered over 4,000 doses in Bowling Green and still has vaccinations available. If you would like to sign up, you can call 866-211-5320.