NewsLocal NewsCoronavirus


Publix website books 16,000+ COVID-19 vaccine appointments Monday, users continue to cite issues

Florida users report glitch sent them to South Carolina portion of site
Posted at 12:05 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 18:30:08-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Eager seniors seeking to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment on Publix's website were once again up early Monday morning.

This was the first Monday that the site has been live after Publix decided to add a third day of the week for booking appointments.

The site began taking appointments at 7 a.m.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | Need help navigating Publix's vaccine website? | Vaccine information, county by county

However, some people who logged onto the site said when they clicked on the "Florida" tab, they were redirected to the South Carolina portion of the site.

Mabel Smith-Duffus said she logs onto the site every morning hoping that today will be the day she successfully books a spot.

Mabel-Smith-Duffus, struggling to book COVID-19 vaccine appointment on Publix website
Mabel Smith-Duffus continues to be frustrated by the COVID-19 vaccine process on the Publix website.

"This morning I hit the frustration point. … When I logged on this morning, it took me to South Carolina," Smith-Duffus said.

Customers reported for an hour being directed to the South Carolina booking site even though they kept clicking "Florida."

"I feel like I'm in a third world country. I was born in Jamaica. I feel like that's where we are right now. This is just appalling,” Smith-Duffus said.

She has been trying to get an appointment for her 82-year-old mother, her 70-year-old husband and one for herself, a registered nurse.

"It feels like you're doing the lotto," Smith-Duffus said.

Steve Press has also been getting up early every week in hopes of making it past the waiting queue. He said he and his wife did not have any luck Monday either.

"Our lives have been on hold literally since March. We go to the store. We go shopping. We don't go anywhere. We don't visit family. We don't visit friends. We are waiting, and we are at the mercy of the government, and it's not much fun," Press said.

Steve Press says he and his wife were unsuccessful in booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the Publix website Feb. 15, 2021.
Steve Press

Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said the site experienced a "procedural issue" Monday but it was "corrected shortly thereafter."

Monday's issue is just the latest problem users have experienced since the site went live in January.

Brous said Publix booked more than 16,000 appointments in an hour and a half Monday.

The Florida-based supermarket chain is currently booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Users last week also noticed that available doses by county are now reported as a percentage and not a number.

There continues to be more demand than the supply available, so appointment availability is limited.

Publix appointments can only be scheduled online and cannot be made by calling Publix or the Publix Pharmacy. The next round of appointments can be scheduled Wednesday starting at 7 a.m.

WPTV Senior Reporter Michelle Quesada is working on this story and will have a full report on NewsChannel 5 at 4, 5, 6.