PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County is working to change the way people sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations after an appointment hotline quickly got overwhelmed with calls over the past week.
County officials said the appointment line is currently closed, and the only way you can request an appointment is by emailing the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name, phone number, and date of birth in your email.
Officials said you'll be contacted once appointment slots become available. No vaccines will be given without an appointment.
Right now, people 65 and older, health care workers with direct patient contact, long-term care facility residents and staff, and people deemed to be "extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers" can receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Palm Beach County.
County officials said that due to the high demand for vaccines, they're working to transition to a new website-based appointment system. However, there's no timeline for when that system will be up and running.
"The rollout is terrible, there's no organization! I'm a retired teacher, I think I can organize it better," said Helen Chambers, who lives in Palm Beach County and has struggled to get an appointment for the vaccine.
Officials with the 211 Helpline serving Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast said they're receiving an influx of calls from seniors who are struggling to figure out how to get an appointment.
"They're frustrated because there is certain paperwork they have to produce or fill out. It's just kind of confusing for them," said Patrice Schroeder, the community relations specialist for the 211 Helpline.
"The organization is terrible. Do it by ages, do it by areas, but do it! Get it done, we all want it!" Chambers said.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, 12,983 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Palm Beach County, including 142 on Sunday.
During a news conference in Longwood on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the next group he's targeting for vaccinations is the workforce, including teachers and other essential workers.
However, DeSantis admitted it could take weeks or even months before enough vaccine is available for that population.
"I view people that are earning a living and putting food on the table as essential, because it's essential to their family," DeSantis said. "So we want to make it as widely available to the workforce."
For more information about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Palm Beach County, click here.