TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For weeks, 8 On Your Side has documented the frustration and anxiety as seniors try to get vaccinated. On Friday, Florida launched a new statewide sign-up to improve the process.
As 8 On Your Side found out, the new pre-registration system does have limitations.
George Parker, 72, lives in a tight-knit mobile home community in Lakeland.
The veteran has been pushing to bring the coronavirus vaccine to his neighbors.
So far, they’ve had no luck.
“I hate it because we’re in the dark here,” said Parker. “I’m signed up three different places.”
Now, there’s a new way to sign-up.
The Florida Department of Health announced Friday the launch of its statewide preregistration online system to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for residents 65 and older and frontline health care workers.
Residents can pre-register for vaccine appointments and be notified when appointments are available in their area by visiting myvaccine.fl.gov.
Once on the site, residents can select their county and submit their contact information. When an appointment becomes available, residents will be contacted by phone call, text or email and will be assisted in scheduling an appointment.
After weeks of website crashes, 8 On Your Side wanted to test out the state’s new portal.
It took two minutes and 43 seconds for Parker to sign-up for the vaccine.
The state said vaccine supply remains limited and appointments may not be available for several weeks in some counties.
The new system does have its limitations. Counties have to opt in, and this is only for state-supported vaccination sites.
“Right now the Publix system and the state system don’t talk, but I’m not saying that eventually can’t happen,” said Jared Moskowitz, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Although it appears Parker pre-registered, he never received a confirmation email.
8 On Your Side called the state to see if that was out of the ordinary.
As we wait to hear back, officials stress once you pre-register, your place in line will be reserved.
Additionally, as part of the statewide registration system, each county has a designated phone number that individuals can call and pre-register if they do not have internet access. Below are the phone numbers for the 10 Tampa Bay counties:
- TTY: 844-251-5532
- TTY: 833-476-1025
- TTY: 833-990-1527
- TTY: 833-476-1033
- TTY: 833-476-1518
- TTY: 833-476-1449
- TTY: 833-476-1513
- TTY: 833-476-1028
- TTY: 833-476-1036
- TTY: 833-476-1466
Whether a resident calls by phone or visits myvaccine.fl.gov, their place in line will be reserved through a software called Sharecare.
If someone does not meet the following requirements, they will not be able to pre-register:
- Long-term care facility residents and staff
- Persons 65 years of age and older
- Health care personnel with direct patient contact
Additionally, residents will be asked to bring proof of residency to any appointment across the state.
If you have a tip for Investigator Mahsa Saeidi, you can send an email to MSaeidi@WFLA.com.