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South Suburban Man With COPD Hasn't Left Home In A Year, And Now He Can't Get A COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Terry Simpson has not left his home for a year, as it's just not worth the risk in his condition.

He told CBS 2's Tara Molina the first time he will step out the door will be to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but he has tried everything and cannot get an appointment. Thus, he is stuck in his house, frustrated.

Simpson met with Molina virtually on Wednesday, since an in-person meeting was not an option. He has neither left his house nor had any visitors for a year now.

"Actually, I'm used to it by now," said Simpson, 76. "It makes me even more fearful to even stick my head out the door."

Simpson has COPD. He needs oxygen every time he needs to get around, and said he knows he wouldn't survive COVID-19.

"My grandfather died from the Spanish flu during the first pandemic here in the U.S.," Simpson said.

So he is not taking chances.

"I don't want to be another statistic," Simpson said.

But he does want to get vaccinated, so he can feel safe leaving his house again. Yet despite hours on the phone and online, he said it is impossible to get an appointment.

"Hours and hours. I mean, hours and hours" Simpson said. "I'm 76 years old, and I'm staying up until midnight every night trying to get an appointment - and I'm getting nowhere."

He said he has tried following up with the Walgreens corporate line and health departments – but has ended up with nothing.

"So I don't know who else to reach out to," Simpson said.

Sure enough, we couldn't find one available appointment near him in south suburban Lansing.

So what should people in this position do?

We checked in with the state and local health departments and Walgreens, his closest pharmacy. No one had updates on availability.

RELATED: Seniors Struggling To Sign Up For COVID-19 Vaccines; 'It's Like Hunger Games Out There'

A spokesperson for the state department of public health said the best advice they can offer to people like Terry is to be patient.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said:

"This current phase of vaccination, Phase 1B, includes approximately 3.2 million people in Illinois. While we are working to increase the number administered daily, we are limited by the amount of vaccine available and allocated by the federal government. Vaccinations are available by appointment at this time, and we encourage people to check back frequently for open appointments. Until the supply is increased, there will be a great demand and we ask people to be patient. Individuals should be signing up for an appointment to receive their second dose while they are getting their first vaccination."

Walgreens released this statement:

"In this fluid situation during which vaccine inventory remains limited, our aim is to ensure eligible patients are able to receive vaccinations as soon as possible. We are continuing to enhance our vaccine scheduler with a great sense of urgency and are committed to providing the most convenient solution for our customers. We have dedicated teams actively working through scheduler issues to ensure an easy, secure and transparent experience for all eligible individuals scheduling their vaccinations according to vaccine availability."

"They're actually giving the vaccine shots, but to who?" Simpson said. "I mean, if you can't get an appointment, who are they giving it to?"

We've put together several links to help you find the vaccine in our area. But remember that finding an open slot near you may be difficult:

Wal-Mart | Walgreens | CVS | Jewel-Osco | Meijer | Zocdoc

Also From CBS Chicago:


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