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Publix COVID-19 vaccine appointments fill up rapidly in Palm Beach County

24,402 appointments booked in less than 2 hours
Posted at 11:37 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 17:35:14-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Appointments filled up quickly Wednesday morning for COVID-19 vaccines in Palm Beach County through the new Publix pharmacy portal.


Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said the site was inundated with people seeking to secure a spot.

"As many as 250,000 customers were on our site during this morning's scheduling event with 24,402 appointments booked in less than two hours," Brous said in a written statement.

Those who were unable to secure an appointment for a vaccine Wednesday should visit the site Friday at 6 a.m. At that time, more than 45,000 additional appointments will be available.

If you were in the queue Wednesday and unable to book an appointment, customers will begin the process with a fresh start. There are no placeholders in line from one day to another.

Mary Celebre
Mary Celebre of Boca Raton woke up early hoping to secure an appointment through the Publix vaccination website but wasn't successful.

"As we receive additional vaccines, we'll continue to open the scheduler for additional appointments," Brous said.

For those who booked an appointment Wednesday, shots will be administered as early as Thursday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that the COVID-19 vaccine would be offered at Publix pharmacies throughout Palm Beach County.

"It's by appointment only, so don't just show up," DeSantis said Tuesday.

Mary Celebre and her husband in Boca Raton woke up early Wednesday hoping to secure an appointment on the portal.

"I set the alarm for midnight thinking maybe they would put it on earlier, and I got up every hour after that," Celebre said.

Cindy Basen and her husband in Jupiter had three different laptops ready for when the Publix pharmacy portal went live at 6 a.m.

"We were feeling pretty confident we were going to get an appointment for my in-laws," Basen said.

Cindy Basen, unable to make appointment on COVID Publix website
Cindy Basen of Jupiter had three different laptops ready for when the Publix pharmacy portal went live at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Basen said she was put in a queue, but Publix's website was inundated.

"So we were pretty much shocked at that point because we had been waiting and thought with 67 Publix pharmacies in the county our chances were pretty favorable," Basen said.

Brous said the Publix vaccination website can handle high volumes of traffic. But Wednesday morning's experience is fueling frustrations for many regarding the vaccine rollout in Florida.

"That was very discouraging because I didn't know how to register, didn't know how to sign on and the next thing I know was fully booked," Celebre said.

Celebre said she will keep trying.

"As long as I get it, I don't care if I'm last, just so we are all able to get it," Celebre said.

To make an appointment at a Publix in Florida, click here.