53ºF

St. Johns County COVID-19 vaccine appointments fill up in about 15 minutes

400 appointments were available to be booked for Friday, county administrator says

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Online registration for a limited number of COVID-19 vaccination appointments in St. Johns County opened at 9 a.m. Thursday and all 400 appointments were filled by 9:16 a.m., the county said.

Earlier in the week, the county said its second delivery of vaccine would include 800 doses, but Thursday, St. Johns County administrator Hunter Conrad told The Morning Show that 400 vaccine appointments would be available to book for Friday.

He anticipated them going quickly, and by 9:16 a.m., the St. Johns County text alert system announced all appointments had been filled.

Additional appointments will become available when St. Johns County receives more vaccines from the State of Florida, the county said.

For more information, call the St. Johns County COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 904-295-3711 (dial all ten digits), text SJCVACCINE to 888-777, or visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirusvaccinations.

“We have been receiving somewhere between 3,000-4,000 calls a day, and we haven’t even opened the registration process yet, so we expect the phone lines to light up this morning,” Conrad said on The Morning Show earlier today. “They’ve already been ringing here in the emergency operation center. I fully expect that by 8:55/9 a.m. they will be going fully live. It will probably be difficult to get through. What I would tell people is if they are in that line trying to get these 400 vaccines to continue to call, but it is a limited number. As soon as we get more, we’ll release the same information to the public again. We’ll do it days in advance.”

The county sent a notice Thursday morning, explaining that a credit card was not required to make an appointment. If you encounter a website requiring payment information to book an appointment, it is NOT the official St. Johns County COVID-19 vaccination registration page, the county warned.

Between New Year’s Eve and Monday, the county gave administered about 2,000 doses, most with a chaotic, first-come, first-served system after the Department of Health’s reservation system failed.

St. John’s County on Monday administered the last 200 of its initial 3,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses at the Solomon Calhoun Community Center. Administration of the county’s vaccinations was handed over from the Florida Department of Health’s local office to local agencies including St. Johns County Fire and Rescue, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Augustine Fire Department and St. Johns County Emergency Management.

The new operation ditched the drive-through format which the DOH had employed the four days prior, instead, administering shots in the community center’s gymnasium.

“We’ve got an indoor venue, where people come through and we’re mandating that people make appointments and show up close to their appointment time, so we can get them in,” said SJCFR’s Capt. Bob Snell.

The vaccinations were also given only to those who had an appointment, immediately after which, a follow-up appointment was scheduled for that patient to receive the second of the two doses required for Moderna’s vaccination regimen.

During the first four days of vaccine distribution in St. Johns County, the Florida Department of Health gave shots to whoever lined up first and fit the state’s vaccine criteria (health care workers with patient contact and patients 65 years or older). However, patients were not given a set appointment for the second dose.

Snell told News4Jax that the county has the contact information for all first-dose recipients and will communicate with them about the logistics of their next appointment.

“We have their information and we’ll be in contact, along with the emergency management folks, making appointments for them,” Snell said. “If they got vaccinated in St. Johns County, we’ll be the group that will deliver the second vaccination to them and we’ll make sure that they get it on time.”

For updates regarding St. Johns County’s COVID-19 vaccination program, please visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirusvaccinations or text SJCVACCINE to 888777.

This digital post was provided by St. Johns County.
This digital post was provided by St. Johns County. (St. Johns County)