WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Domestic workers are among the frontline workers covered by Governor Ron DeSantis’ ordinance granting access to the COVID-19 vaccine. However, Contact 5 has learned that few workers have successfully gained access to vaccination appointments.

“I’m on a waiting list in several counties,” Patrice Gagnon said in an interview with Contact 5, adding that she still hasn’t been vaccinated.

Gagnon is a nurse and takes care of some of South Florida’s most vulnerable neighbors right in their homes.

“My job is to help people and make them healthy, or at least give them the best quality of life they can have,” said Gagnon.

Gagnon told Contact 5 that the stress of potentially catching coronavirus and infecting one of her patients weighs heavily on each day.

“It never goes away [and] I keep thinking … the majority of my patients are immunocompromised, which puts them at a higher risk of infection, “she said.

“When I’ve taken all of this away from them it’s just a terrible feeling to live with every single day … it doesn’t go away every day,” said Gagnon.

Kaan Pala / WPTV

Patrice Gagnon, domestic worker, treats a patient in her home.

“Domestic workers are in the blind spot,” Kyle Simon told Contact 5.

Simon is the director of government affairs and communications for the Home Care Association of Florida.

“The vast majority of the authorities we hear about across the state say that only a small fraction of their workforce actually received the vaccine,” said Simon.

There are more than 80,000 domestic workers in Florida, according to Simon. However, it is unclear how many were vaccinated.

A Florida Department of Health spokesperson told Contact 5 in an email that home health workers are involved in health workers’ vaccination efforts, but the state does not track how many home health workers received the coronavirus vaccine.

“It is important that they actually have access to this vaccine,” noted Simon.

John James of the Health Care Emergency Response Coalition in Palm Beach County echoed these concerns.

John James

Kaan Pala / WPTV

John James of the Palm Beach County’s Health Care Emergency Response Coalition speaks to Contact 5.

“Many of the home health authorities and support providers that are not affiliated with hospitals are having trouble getting the vaccine,” James told Contact 5 in an interview.

Contact 5 asked DeSantis at a press conference on Friday in Palm Beach County if he was doing anything to help home health workers. The governor did not answer our question.

“”[I’m] I’m doing everything in my power to keep them out of hospitals and I still can’t get vaccinated, “Gagnon said.

“If I had worked in a hospital or long-term care facility, I would have been vaccinated by now,” noted Gagnon.

Patrice Gagnon

Kaan Pala / WPTV

Patrice Gagnon, home nurse, speaks to Contact 5.

Like so many other hospice and home care workers, Gagnon is forced to wait and wonder and fear for those who need them most.

“It really hurts my heart to believe that I could harm the very people I care for, and that’s simply because we were excluded. That group of medical professionals was excluded,” Gagnon said.