TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many Pinellas County seniors struggled to sign-up for the vaccine online this weekend because the county’s registration website had technical difficulties caused by a reported national server outage.
Within minutes of the portal crashing, seniors started contacting 8 On Your Side.
Residents 65 and older understand the vaccine supply is limited but many are angry about the sign-up process, calling it confusing, chaotic and unpredictable. Each county, hospital and provider do it differently – and over and over again, we have seen the systems fail.
“The whole thing is just very very very frustrating,” 77-year-old Desmond Fowles said.
The Pinellas County senior is looking at different counties to try and sign up for the vaccine.
“Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee,” said Mr. Fowles.
As seniors fight for appointments, there is a possible light at the end of the tunnel. Florida is planning to launch a statewide registration system that could bring order to the process. However, it’s unclear where or when it will be available or how it will work.
In a news conference in Jacksonville on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t focus on the sign-up confusion. Instead, he said our state has vaccinated nearly one in four seniors.
“We have done more senior vaccinations, 65 and up, than any other state in the country and it’s not even close,” said Gov. DeSantis.
But Mr. Fowles isn’t one of the lucky ones. After spending days looking for the vaccine, he’s anxious.
“What I’m afraid of now [is] that they’re going to maybe again open up the available group of people to even more and more people,” he said.
8 On Your Side is working to get concrete details about Florida’s new statewide registration system.
Right now, Florida is getting around 266,000 first doses of the vaccine each week. Gov. DeSantis says if you’re not happy with the rollout, contact your congressman and senator.
“Tell them [to] talk to the administration, have them send more Pfizer and Moderna to the states,” Gov. DeSantis said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that Florida health officials have not distributed more than half of their current vaccine supply.