TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County seniors say they’re following all of the state’s rules but still cannot book their second COVID-19 vaccine appointments online.
So what happens if you can’t get that second dose within the recommended time frame? There is some wiggle room. Experts say the timing of that second dose does not have to be exact.
Still, Florida seniors who are in the dark and on standby want answers now.
The confusion started last month, when the state took over Tampa’s University Mall COVID-19 vaccine site.
Overnight, there was a new requirement. Seniors couldn’t just show up to get the second shot anymore. Instead, they had to go online to book and confirm the appointment.
“It doesn’t say anywhere on the card that you had to call,” said Robert Keppel.
Keppel says he only found out about the new rule by watching 8 On Your Side.
He logged on to Florida’s site, requested an appointment and then waited. The Florida Department of Health had promised a confirmation within 48 hours.
Keppel tells us that didn’t happen.
“Not a call. Not an email. Not a text. Nothing,” he said.
In emails, other seniors tell us they’re not getting confirmations either. 8 On Your Side has called and emailed the state regarding this issue.
As second doses become due, seniors worry about not getting the shot within the prescribed time frame of 21 to 28 days.
“I was on the phone yesterday for hours trying to call the state of Florida health department,” said Keppel. “Nobody had any answers for me.”
“I want to find out ahead of time,” he added. “I want to make sure I’m going to be taken care of.”
But there is some comforting advice on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. While experts say you should get that second dose as soon as possible, the CDC states “the second dose of Pfizer…and Moderna…may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.”
8 On Your Side is looking into the vendor the state has hired to handle COVID-19 reservations.