COVID-19 vaccine appointment shopping causes increase in ‘no-shows’ in Seminole County

If a person no longer needs a vaccine appointment, they should cancel scheduled ones

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – “No-shows” are causing complications for Seminole County’s vaccine appointment system.

Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said this is happening across Central Florida, and one of the reasons is due to vaccine expansion.

“The challenge is that people are shopping, they want what’s closer, earlier and they can just go to that one and don’t cancel their appointment with us,” Harris said.

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Vaccine shopping is putting a strain on the county’s appointment system which has seen an uptick in “no-shows” despite the demand for the vaccine.

“Our no shows range from about 50-100 per day, that is 50 to about 100 people that couldn’t get a vaccine simply because someone found an appointment closer or went to another site,” Harris said.

Harris said if people book their appointment they should show up or cancel their appointment if they no longer need it.

Harris said crews at the vaccine site at the Oviedo Mall the site have heard a multitude of excuses surrounding “no-shows.”

“[They said]Oh yeah I forgot to cancel that appointment I just found it at the local pharmacy down the street,” he said. “We still have people with comorbidities with doctors’ notes and people in the 65 plus that would like to get a vaccine.”

The pattern has prompted county health officials to begin posting upcoming appointments at on Thursday instead of Tuesday beginning April 1.

“We want to make sure that we maximize our appointment dispensing and that everyone that wants a dose gets a dose, so we are trying to eliminate these ‘no-shows,’” Harris said.

The change was made public on Seminole County’s Facebook page on Tuesday

Releasing appointments later in the week, and closer to the upcoming appointment dates, will hopefully mitigate a “no-show” rate caused by individuals booking multiple appointments through multiple venues, in a search of the soonest available. The Thursday release will also allow for late vaccine shipments to be tallied and accounted for before the appointment release.

The county expects to see a decrease in “no shows” sometime next week. Despite the appointment complication, Harris said they have not wasted any doses.