SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota County is expanding access to the county’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment system to everyone 18 and over, though only those who qualify under state guidelines will be able to get vaccinated.
The county announced the change Thursday as the state prepares to expand who can get vaccinated to include people over 60 years of age starting Monday.
Only people in Sarasota who meet the current state guidelines as of March 15 (individuals who are over 60 and frontline healthcare workers, school staff, LEO) will receive an account number and are eligible for an appointment notification.
As state guidelines continue to expand, numbers will be assigned to accounts that meet eligibility guidelines by in order of registration.
But, as eligibility expands, those already registered will be automatically issued account numbers and have a place in line once they meet the new criteria.
The Department of Health says the registration link will go live on Monday afternoon.
Beginning at 2 p.m. on March 12, individuals will no longer be able to create or change an account through the current registration system that launched Jan. 20.
This will allow for the transition to the updated sign up to begin without causing those eligible individuals already in the system to lose their place in queue and will require individuals over 65 and healthcare workers who haven’t registered yet to wait until Monday to sign up when the enhanced system is launched.
“We started with 65 and above because they are the most vulnerable and here in Sarasota County, 37 percent of our population is above that age group. We are committed to working through that population to ensure those who want to receive the vaccine are able to get it before we expand other groups,” said DOH Health Officer Chuck Henry. “Over 115,00 individuals in the over 65 and frontline healthcare works priority group have been vaccinated in Sarasota County, and there are approximately 65,000 community members remaining.”
Individuals with questions or needing assistance with account registration may call the Vaccine Registration call center at 941-861-VAXS (8297), 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, visit the Information and Registration Station inside Sarasota Square Mall from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that after the state makes people 60 and older eligible for the COVID vaccine on Monday, it will soon drop the age to 55 and then probably open it up to the rest.
DeSantis said the process may go quicker than expected because of the increase in supply the state is receiving per week.