PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County opened up 10,000 new COVID-19 vaccine appointments for senior citizens just before 10 a.m. Friday. By 11 a.m., those appointments had filled up, according to health department officials.
The new round of vaccinations is set to begin early next week at four sites in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Largo and Palm Harbor. The exact site of those locations has yet to be released.
The director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, Dr. Ulyee Choe, said the process to sign up on the new system with CDR MAGUIRE is pretty simple and only takes 10 to 20 minutes.
“This is a good first step,” Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said. “We’re doing a dry run this Saturday to make sure the physical sites work.”
Dr. Choe said Fire Paramedics are going to be a big partner to get the vaccinations out quickly and efficiently.
So far, Dr. Choe said the county has distributed 3,000 vaccines. There are approximately 250,000 people living in Pinellas County that meet the vaccine criteria of 65 and older, so it’s not surprising 10,000 appointments filled up so quickly.
Maggie Hall, the public spokesperson for the Department of Health, said residents who were unable to book an appointment Friday can sign up on the patient portal for alerts when the next state shipment arrives. She said there are no vaccines available for residents without appointments and there is no waiting list.
Hall said the State of Florida distributed 10,000 vaccines this week for distribution to seniors in Pinellas County. She went on to say that, to date, more than 33,000 doses have been distributed in the county to long-term care facilities, hospitals, health centers, pharmacies and state health departments.
In the meantime, she said please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain a social distance and stay at home if you are feeling sick.