Seniors 65 and older and people with health conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 can now “save their place in line” by pre-registering for the vaccine in Florida through a new website and phone system.
Healthcare workers with direct patient contact and long-term care residents and staff can also pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone who pre-registers for a vaccine appointment will be notified when slots become available at state-supported vaccination sites in their county, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is tasked with the state’s vaccine distribution. Once you get an appointment, you will need to show proof that you are a Florida resident.
Florida residents who do not meet the priority criteria can also sign up to receive email updates to learn when they will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
How to pre-register
Those who are eligible for the vaccine can pick the county they want to receive the vaccine in. You will be asked to fill out some basic information, including name, email, phone number and whether you need the first or second dose. You can also pick if you prefer being contacted by phone, text or email when an appointment becomes available.
For those who do not have Internet access, you can also pre-register by phone. To find the designated number for your county, visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FL-VACCINE-HOTLINES_updated-0124.pdf.
“Vaccine supply remains limited and appointments may not be available for several weeks in some counties,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a news release.
The website also shows you a list of state-supported sites by county.
If your county does not have any state-run sites listed, you can still sign up for the wait list to be notified when a site becomes available. Keep in mind that the website is an opt-in system open to all 67 counties. This means your county needs to sign up with the state to be included in the system.
Hillsborough County, which has a state-supported vaccination site at the University Mall in Tampa, will use the state’s new online pre-registration portal, according to a spokesman with the county health department. The county said that people who registered on PatientPortal before Jan. 16 or through the county’s current system should not need to re-register.
There are no state-supported vaccination sites in Pinellas, Pasco or Hernando. The Pinellas health department stressed that people who only sign up through the state’s My Vaccine system won’t be able to get an appointment in Pinellas because the system is not yet in use in the county. The Pasco health department also said it would continue with its current enrollment process instead of using the state registration system.
While there is a state residency requirement, there is no county requirement. That means someone who lives in Pinellas or Hillsborough can pre-register to get the vaccine in Polk, or vice versa.
The government of Lee County and its health department tweeted about the online registration system late Thursday and described it to be a soft launch. Florida did not officially announce the new website until shortly before 11 a.m. Friday.
Times staff writer Allison Ross and Bradenton Herald staff writer Jessica Leon contributed to this report.
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