ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida launched a new statewide website Friday to streamline the state’s approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution, following the slow rollout of a state appointment hotline earlier in the month.
The website, myvaccine.fl.gov, allows Florida full and part-time residents to register for the coveted vaccine shots in all 67 counties, placing them in a virtual queue until more doses are available in their area.
“Pre-register now for the COVID-19 vaccine,” the website reads. “We urge currently eligible Florida residents to save their place in line by pre-registering today.”
Currently, the state is vaccinating people 65 years and older, long-term care facility staff and residents, health care staff with direct patient contact and individuals extremely vulnerable to the virus.
“This website will allow individuals who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to be proactively contacted when vaccine appointments are available at state-supported vaccination sites,” the Florida Department of Health news release read.
Vaccine supply remains limited and appointments may not be available for several weeks in some counties, the DOH warns.
Users will select their county and hit “get in line” before filling out some personal information to register. Once appointments are available individuals will be contacted by phone, text or email to schedule an appointment, according to the DOH.
On Friday, the DOH said as part of the statewide registration system, each of Florida’s 67 counties has a designated phone number to call and pre-register. The full list of numbers is available here.
Broward, Duval, Hillsborough and Lee counties began using a Florida Department of Health hotline to book vaccine appointments following a promise earlier this month from Florida’s director of emergency management that a statewide appointment system would be coming.
However, the hotline and state website may not be the best way to sign up for local department of health shots.
Volusia County for example is still in preliminary discussions with the state regarding the system but has not started using the platform. Volusia County Emergency Management officials are encouraging people to continue registering through the county portal.
“Currently, individuals who register for an appointment through MyVaccine (myvaccine.fl.gov) are placed in a queue not managed by the County of Volusia and will not be contacted for an appointment,” Volusia County Emergency Management said in an update Friday. “Individuals who wish to receive a vaccine through the County of Volusia should continue to register through Eventbrite or by calling the Citizens Information Center as additional vaccine events are announced.”
It’s unclear how this new system operated by Sharecare software will jive with counties who are not using the state registration number. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said on Jan. 22 the county will continue to use CDR Health for appointment sign ups and does not plan to use the state system just yet for the Orange County Convention Center vaccine site.
Florida Division of Emergency Management press secretary Samantha Bequer said it is individual choice whether someone signs up with the statewide pre-registration system.
“If a county has a system in place and decides to use the statewide system, the state will work with them to merge existing waitlists,” Bequer said in an email. “In counties where they have opted in to the system, eligible individuals will be contacted to schedule an appointment when they’re available in the area through the state system.
She said Florida is working with counties to make sure existing registration systems can coordinate with the MyVaccine website.